FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2015
The decision puts Michigan’s most vulnerable children at the mercy of biased service providers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Family Equality Council strongly denounces Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for signing bills into law today that will allow agencies and individual service providers in the state to refuse to work with prospective parents — including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples — and LGBTQ youth in care who do not conform with the service provider or agencies’ religious or moral beliefs.
“Governor Snyder’s justification for signing these harmful bills into law is disingenuous, misleading, and offensive,” said Family Equality Council Director of Public Policy Emily Hecht-McGowan. “This is an Indiana-style adoption RFRA – plain and simple. Allowing agencies charged with placing children to turn away otherwise qualified parents does nothing to help Michigan’s most vulnerable youth.”
Hecht-McGowan continues, “The idea that an agency can refuse to work with certain kinds of parents and just refer them elsewhere is contrary to Gov. Snyder’s stated objective of ensuring ‘children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup.’ This practice, at best, significantly delays the ability of Michigan’s foster youth to find forever homes and, at worst, lets these youth languish in the system without ever finding loving families of their own. These laws will have a chilling effect on recruitment by telling certain kinds of prospective parents that they are unwelcome.”
Adds Hecht-McGowan, “Gov. Snyder cites the closing of Catholic Charities Adoption Services in Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Washington, D.C., as examples of why these bills were necessary in Michigan. However, if Snyder had bothered to do his homework, he would have seen that there was zero negative impact on services provided to youth in care. In each instance, other agencies without discriminatory practices stepped in to put the best interests of foster youth first.”
The new laws will go into effect 90 days from today. There are more than 10,000 youth in Michigan’s foster care system, approximately 3,000 of whom are currently available for adoption.
For TV, newspaper and web interviews with Family Equality Council Director of Public Policy Emily Hecht-McGowan, contact Media Manager Bradley Jacobs at 917-324-8771 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Family Equality Council®: Family Equality Council® connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer in this country today and their six million children of all ages. We are changing attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated—including families with parents who are LGBTQ. We are a community of parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren that reaches across this country. For over 30 years we have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.
Contact: Bradley Jacobs
Family Equality Council