Private adoption agencies receiving state funding will be allowed to discriminate against atheists on a religious basis after new legislation passed on June 11, according to Patheos.
The new law, composed of three bills and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder less than a day after they were presented to him, states that faith-based adoption agencies “have the right to free exercise of religion.”
The legislation says that adoption agencies can refuse service if it conflicts with an agency’s religious beliefs, and that “no adverse action” will be taken by the government if an adoption agency declines services on religious grounds.
If services are denied to prospective parents, child placement agencies must provide a list of adoption agencies that are willing and able to serve them, under the new law.
While there is no specific mention of groups excluded from adopting on religious grounds, the legislation may deny adoption opportunities to atheist couples, same-sex couples, unmarried couples and those with different religious convictions from an agency, reports Reuters.
Snyder says the laws focus on placing children to “loving families,” reports Christian Today.
“The state has made significant progress in finding more homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that wouldn’t be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process,” said Snyder.
The laws are regarded as protective measures for businesses, allowing them to discriminate in their services while avoiding lawsuits, reports Reuters.
The American Civil Liberties Union has vowed to challenge Michigan’s new legislation.
“We’re deeply disappointed that Governor Snyder signed this dangerous legislation,” reads a June 11 statement from ACLU Michigan Deputy Director Rana Elmir. “We are developing a legal challenge with our Muslim, Jewish, Christian and LGBTQ partners.”
Photo Credit: Michigan Municipal League