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Judge hears arguments in same sex adoption case

Stephen Radford

The ACLU of Michigan wants a federal judge to let its discrimination lawsuit against the state move forward.

The ACLU says a policy that lets faith-based child placement agencies under contract with the state withhold services for religious reasons is unconstitutional. Multiple same sex couples say they were turned away when they tried to adopt from these organizations that receive state money.

The state says there are other agencies for same-sex couples to use.

Leslie Cooper is with the ACLU of Michigan. She says the state’s argument doesn’t hold up.

“It doesn’t sort of change the injury, the harm that happens of being told your kind is unacceptable to be a parent,” says Cooper.

Stephanie Barclay is with the Becket law firm. It represents St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a defendant in the lawsuit. Barclay says without the state’s money, St. Vincent would have to end its adoption services.

“The only people who will lose if the ACLU lawsuit prevails are children in this state who need safe and loving homes,” says Barclay.

The state says the adoption organizations are not state agencies, and the money from the state is not used specifically for faith-based purposes.

The judge did not say when he would rule.


Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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