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Children’s Rights Denounces Michigan Settlement as Taxpayer-funded Discrimination

Contact: Camilla Jenkins, cjenkins@childrensrights.org

On January 26, Michigan settled a lawsuit brought by a local foster care agency, announcing that the state will contract with agencies that refuse to work with same-sex couples seeking to foster or adopt a child. In 2019 the agency, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, sued after the state announced it would stop working with agencies that turn away same-sex couples or LGBTQ+ individuals. Citing a June 2021 Supreme Court ruling, the state says it can no longer follow its previous non-discrimination policy, which denied contracts to agencies that discriminate against people based on their sexual or gender orientation.

In response, Daniele Gerard, Senior Staff Attorney, Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:

“The settlement sends a message to LGBTQ+ adults and children in Michigan that their rights are not protected and their identities are not valued at a time when a shortage of safe and loving foster homes is creating a crisis across the US. This decision to permit taxpayer-funded discrimination comes on the heels of last week’s report that confirmed the state is falling short on its commitment to children in foster care. Governor Whitmer and the legislature must make good now on the promise of assured safety for the children in its care. At the same time, we call on Congress to pass stalled federal legislation to provide consistent anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ children and adults and ensure that they are served with dignity and respect.”