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Same-sex couple seeks to intervene in foster care agency's lawsuit against state of Michigan

Two parents with child
Adobe Stock

Dana and Kristy Dumont, a same-sex couple in Michigan, have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit over whether religious child welfare agencies can decline to help them foster a child.

The lawsuit was filed by St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Melissa and Chad Buck, who fostered and then adopted five children using St. Vincent Catholic Charities' services.

The lawsuit was filed after the state agreed to settle a previous lawsuit filed by the Dumonts. The settlement means the state will stop letting agencies that receive state funds turn away same-sex couples for religious reasons.

The ACLU of Michigan's Jay Kaplan says it's discrimination.

"These agencies are essentially acting as agencies of the state of Michigan to single out a group of people, same sex couples, and refusing to work with them, citing a religious viewpoint," says Kaplan.

Kaplan says it's not in the interest of children in the foster care system to turn away prospective foster parents who can give them a loving and stable home.

Credit Becket Law
Chad and Melissa Buck

St. Vincent Catholic Charities argues it will have to shut down if it can't follow its religious beliefs and that is not in the interest of children, nor is it in the interest of foster parents who rely on the charity for post-placement assistance, like the Bucks.

The lawsuit also says same-sex parents have other options; they can seek services from charities that do not have religious objections to helping them become foster parents.

Correction: An earlier version of this article used a photo provided by the ACLU that was not of the Dumonts. The image has been updated to a stock photo. (5/23/2019) 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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