Same-sex couple challenging faith-based agencies' ability to deny adoptions
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - A same-sex couple was denied the right to adopt children in Michigan, and now the couple is fighting back.
A new ACLU lawsuit is challenging the state's system of allowing faith-based adoption agencies to reject qualified same-sex couples from adopting kids.
When two married Michigan women were denied the opportunity to grow their family, they were devastated.
They say they want to adopt so they can give a loving home to just some of the 14,000 Michigan kids who don't have one.
Dana and Kristy Dumont, of Dimondale, are happily married and they have the hearts of mothers.
"I think we have a lot of love to give and a lot to offer," Kristy said.
But when they asked two faith-based organizations to help them adopt a child, they were denied.
"We were pretty devastated after that," said Kristy.
The child placement agencies told the Dumont's this:
"It's our practice not to place kids with same sex couples," explained Kristy.
The comments came as a shock to Kristy.
"They were just telling me no because I was gay. They didn't even take the time to get to know us or anything. It was, I called, 'my wife and I are interested' and the second I said that it was a closed door," she said.
While the Dumonts try to open the door to adoption, Equality Michigan is seeking clarification from the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.
"We are asking them to answer a pretty simple question: does state law right now, which prohibits sex discrimination, protect LGBT people, yes or no. And if so, will the commission accept complaints of discrimination and treat them like any other complaint," said Nathan Triplett, with Equality Michigan.
Republican Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) says he hopes the LGBT community isn't protected under the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, saying it will open the floodgates for lawsuits.
"This is something that is not independently verifiable because it's about how people feel about themselves. So it opens it up to a lawsuit-palooza that's going to be detrimental to our economy, it's going to be harmful to employers, and harmful to our citizens as a whole," he said.
As the commission waits to make a decision, the Dumonts say that although same-sex marriage is legal, Michigan still lags in LGBT protections.
"There aren't many protections out there and this lawsuit in the instance, the adoption piece, is just one more example of that," Kristy said.
Besides Michigan, at least six other states allow faith-based adoption agencies to turn away same sex couples.
In a statement, the Michigan Catholic Conference said it's dishonest for the ACLU to allege a 'ban' on adoptions. The statement adds, Michigan is recognized for having a diverse and tolerant child placement environment.