Legal Battle with Faith-Based Adoption Agencies Continues

Federal Judge Paul D. Borman gave his ruling in favor of the plaintiffs regarding a case in Michigan that could set a legal precedent for courts and legislatures nationwide. The case, Dumont v. Lyon, was to decide whether or not faith-based adoptions agencies that receive state funding are able to use their First Amendment right of free religious exercise to turn down same-sex couples. Judge Borman found the plaintiffs, Kristy and Dana Dumont, and Erin and Rebecca Busk-Sutton, had suffered “stigmatic and practical harm” as a result of entering into adoption contracts with agencies and subsequently being rejected due to religious reasons to exclude same-sex couples. In response to the ruling, Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, said “Most important is that the judge recognized the general principle that if a state is allowing the use of religious eligibility criteria to cast aside prospective families, that states an establishment clause claim. This is the first case that addresses that issue squarely, so it’s a big deal for that court to have said that.”