LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – St. Vincent Catholic Charities signed a settlement with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that allows the adoption charity to continue to deny adoptions to same-sex or LGBTQ couples.
The settlement comes following a unanimous Supreme Court decision that limits MDHHS’s ability to enforce its non-discrimination policy under certain circumstances.
The Supreme Court decision is binding on Michigan.
“While this outcome is not what we hoped for, we are committed to providing support to the many members in the LGBTQ+ community who want to open their hearts and their homes,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency in a press release. “Many children who have experienced the trauma associated with abuse and neglect need temporary foster homes while we work to reunify them safely with their parents. A smaller number of youth need adoptive homes. We are so appreciative of all families that step up to help these children – no matter their orientation or gender identity and expression.
“MDHHS recognizes, values, affirms and appreciates the significant contributions made by the LGBTQ+ families caring for children in foster care and those choosing to adopt,” Starling said. “We could not do this work without them.”
In 2019, the Buck family filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan after the State attempted to shut down St. Vincent’s foster care and adoption center due to the charity’s refusal to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt.
“We are relieved to know that Saint Vincent, in partnership with the State of Michigan, can now, finally, get back to placing vulnerable children with families like ours without the threat of closure,” said Melissa Buck, a member of the Buck family and parent of five children adopted through St. Vincent.
“This is an important win for religious liberty and also for the most vulnerable children in the State of Michigan,” said Deacon James Kasprzak, Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Lansing.
Currently, there are 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system.