States map 2015 for blog Written by Don Byrd

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder yesterday signed into law a bill allowing adoption agencies working under state contract to refuse to provide adoption services that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. Catholic Charities and other religious adoption agencies lobbied for the bill, claiming they would cease adoption operationed altogether if required to provide services to same-sex couples.

Associated Press reports on the bill:

The measure specifies that child-placing agencies do not have to provide services in conflict with their “sincerely held” religious beliefs, meaning they can decline a referral for foster care management or adoption services without fear of an “adverse action” by the state or local governments.

Private agencies — which received $19.9 million from the state for adoption services in the last fiscal year — will be able to cite the law as a defense in judicial or administrative proceedings. If they decline to provide services, they must give applicants a written list of other adoption or foster care providers.

Like most states, Michigan relies on private adoption service providers, about 25 percent of which are faith-based organizations, according to AP’s report. Michigan’s decision to allow such refusals contrasts with Illinois, where contracts with Catholic Charities, among others, were terminated when the agencies refused to serve same-sex couples as required by their agreements with the state.

The Detroit Free-Press reports the ACLU “is already looking at options to challenge” the law.