Judge Grants More Time for Settlement in Same-Sex Adoption Case

AG Nessel Replaced State Attorneys, Will Enter Settlement Discussions

BTL Staff
By | 2019-01-30T14:43:50-04:00 January 30th, 2019|Michigan, News|

A federal district court judge has granted more time to reach a settlement in a case challenging state taxpayer funding for faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that refuse to work with same-sex couples.
“We want this practice to stop,” said Jay Kaplan, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project. He added that these are agencies that have signed contracts with the state saying that they won’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
And that’s what the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging – the state of Michigan’s refusal to take action on these contract violations.
“We didn’t challenge the 2015 law because we don’t believe that the language of the law permits faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples, despite what legislators said,” said Kaplan, pointing to the controversial bill signed into law in 2015 by former Gov. Rick Snyder, which makes it legal for faith-based, child-placing agencies to deny services if they conflict with religious beliefs.
Attorney General Dana Nessel, who said during her campaign that she would not defend the 2015 law, replaced the state attorneys on Wednesday, Jan. 23, and will enter the settlement discussions with the ACLU on behalf of Kristy and Dana Dumont of Dimondale and Erin and Rebecca Busk-Sutton of Detroit.
“Our client agency and the plaintiffs have expressed an interest in resolving this matter and, as such, we intend to engage in a concerted effort to settle the matter,” said Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney in a statement Friday.
A 30-day stay was granted by the judge so they can try to resolve their legal differences with the state.
“It’s hard to predict what will happen in talks, but we remain optimistic,” Kaplan said. “And if we are successful settling this will mean that same-sex couples are afforded the full range of foster and adoption agencies that heterosexual couples are.”

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.