Bethany Christian Services handles 13,000 foster care cases
Bethany Christian Services, a faith-centric adoption and foster care contractor for Michigan state said its services would extend to placing children in LGBT households. The Grand Rapids headquartered non-profit currently handles about eight percent of Michigan’s roughly 13,000 adoption and foster care cases of children from troubled households.
Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan, announced this settlement in March with same-sex couples who filed their cases in 2017. The agreement debars faith-centric agencies from denying a child to be adopted in LGBT households solely for religious reasons if the former has already accepted the child referred by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Bethany Christian Services issued a statement saying they are disappointed with the manner of how the Michigan state administration implemented the settlement agreement. It then conceded that the non-profit would nonetheless comply with all its legal contract requirements and continue its existing operations in Michigan. Among all faith-centric agencies reluctant to serve LGBT individuals or couples within Michigan, Bethany Christian Services handles a large number of cases for the state. The non-profit was managing 1,159 cases in February. In contrast, Catholic Charities managed only 404 affairs during the same period.
The federal court witnessed legal scraps on this matter after St. Vincent Catholic Charities challenged this deal in federal court during the third week of April. The former alleged the agreement contravened not only the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act but also the United States Constitution.
Bob Wheaton, the spokesperson for Department of State Human Services, said his agency is happy to continue its long partnership with Bethany when it came to offering services to families and children. Michigan Attorney General Nessel did a social media broadcast during the April 21 and April 22 weekend stating having an increased number of adoption agencies who do not discriminate leads to a more significant number of children adopted into loving and nurturing “forever” homes. Nessel, a Democrat and an open lesbian herself, thanked Bethany Christian Services. The Attorney General of Michigan has a stellar track record when it comes to gay rights. She successfully fought a legal battle to overturn Michigan’s ban on the issue of gay marriage.
The national board of directors of Bethany Christian Services voted to change its policy on April 11.