Religious Freedom or Children’s Rights: Which Matters More?

By Ian Wendrow
Listen Up, Lansing

LANSING-Organizations across Lansing are responding to a package of bills passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, which allows state funded agencies the right to deny service to potential parents based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Of the multiple faith based adoption agencies in Michigan, Bethany Christian Services (BCS) is the largest among them. When contacted, BCS refused to speak directly to reporters but did release a press statement addressing the proposed bills:

“The legislation approved by the House preserves in law Michigan’s longstanding public/private partnership with a diverse group of private, secular, and faith-based agencies that work side-by-side to find permanent, loving homes for vulnerable children. It doesn’t restrict anyone from participating in foster care or adoption, but it does preserve for faith-based agencies the freedom to be faithful to our convictions,” it read. However, not all of Lansing agrees with the statement that the bills do not restrict parental candidates. Equality Michigan, the only statewide advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) peoples and HIV sufferers with offices in Detroit and Lansing, spoke out at an anti-adoption bill rally.