GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bethany Christian Services will comply with a legal settlement that requires adoption agencies with state contracts to work with LGBTQ couples, the Detroit News reported on Monday.
Michigan reached that settlement with the ACLU in March.
It also comes just a week after St. Vincent Catholic Charities filed a lawsuit against the requirement. Bethany and St. Vincent together handle 10% of the state’s kids being supervised by the state.
From the Detroit News:
While Bethany was “disappointed” with the settlement agreement, it plans to work under the new conditions, the Grand Rapids-based group said in a statement.
“The mission and beliefs of Bethany Christian Services have not changed,” the group said. “We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”
While the First Amendment certainly allows groups varying stances on the issue, it does not allow the state to “shut down people you disagree with,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel for Becket, the religious liberty group representing St. Vincent’s.
“Religious freedom means different people can make different choices,” Windham said in a statement. “That’s what freedom looks like in America.”
Bethany is one 58 agencies that contract with the state for foster care and adoption services. As of mid-February, the agency was responsible for 1,159 of the state’s roughly 13,000 foster care and adoption cases.
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is pleased that the department will be able to continue its long-standing partnership with Bethany in providing services to children and families,” department spokesman Bob Wheaton said.