AG Seeks To Halt LGBT Adoption Ruling, Denies Anti-Catholic Bias

WWJ News
October 12, 2019 - 1:45 pm
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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking a federal judge to halt an injunction that lets religious-based adoption and foster care agencies refuse to place children in LGBT homes.

The Democrat announced Friday that she filed an emergency motion for a stay Thursday, saying that the "court’s opinion does not preserve a status quo but rather shatters it."

Nessel contends U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids, who ruled last month, misinterpreted a 2015 state law. She says the law allows child-placing agencies to turn away families in private cases based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, but not when they place state-supervised children.

Nessel says the injunction upended a non-discrimination policy that's been in place several years.

At the center of the dispute are children who are wards of the state and eligible for adoption through St. Vincent Catholic Charities, which has contracted with the state "to provide publicly funded foster care and adoption services to children in care regardless of its beliefs but on the same terms and conditions as other child place agencies."

Nessel also says the judge misconstrued and took out of context her past criticism of the Republican-enacted law. Her office says Jonker wrongly accused Nessel of being anti-Catholic.

"Children who are wards of this state deserve families who love and respect them; they need and deserve forever families – not hostile court battles and rhetoric that overshadows the very purpose of this case," Nessel said in a statement. "Judge Jonker’s comments unnecessarily inflamed an issue that at its core is about adhering to contractual obligations with the state; nothing more and nothing less."