FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lansing, Mich.) — Michigan Catholic Conference is applauding a settlement agreement filed in federal court today that allows faith-based adoption and foster care providers to continue to operate according to their religious mission. The settlement agreement between St. Vincent Catholic Charities and the state of Michigan protects conscience rights in the provision of child placement and, as such, helps to ensure religious foster care and adoption agencies will continue to serve Michigan children and families of varying religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds.
“We are grateful that a law signed in 2015 with bipartisan support to uphold conscience rights will continue to benefit Michigan’s most vulnerable children who are served by a network of faith-based child placement agencies,” said David Maluchnik, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Communications. “Despite a coordinated and high-profile ‘sue and settle’ strategy that sought to find the 2015 law unconstitutional, Michigan’s child placement policy now enjoys federal legal protections that solidifies and strengthens the right of religious agencies to assist a range of children and families in search of permanent homes.”
Michigan Catholic Conference began to advocate for legislation in 2011 that codified into state law decades of effective collaboration between the State of Michigan and religious providers to move children from the state’s foster care system into permanent homes with families. Faith-based placement agencies such as Catholic Charities operate according to their religious teaching and are staffed and administered by individuals who carry their faith into their daily lives to care for the vulnerable and to serve others. This “freedom to serve” regrettably has been targeted in recent years as some organizations and elected officials have sought to litigate religious agencies out of the public square.
“The settlement agreement announced today provides affirmation that society, families and children are well served by dedicated and highly competent religious organizations and individuals that provide services to the general public, especially vulnerable persons and those who are suffering,” Maluchnik said. “We believe this agreement advances the common good, benefits Michigan’s vulnerable children, and upholds the constitutional right to religious liberty that is a cornerstone of our state and nation.”
According to the terms of the settlement agreement: “MDHHS shall not take any action against St. Vincent’s CPA license or terminate or not renew the contracts because St. Vincent does not:
- certify or approve a same-sex or unmarried couple as a foster parent or adoptive parent, or
- conduct a home evaluation for a same-sex or unmarried couple, or
- place a foster child with a same-sex or unmarried couple for foster care or adoption.”
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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