Christians Banned From Foster Care Adoption Over Gender Transition Beliefs
By Bob Unruh - WND News CenterAugust 10, 2023
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The state of Massachusetts is being been sued for violating the Constitution in its decision to ban faithful Catholics from the state's foster care adoption program, which currently is facing a crisis with some 1,500 children in need of families.
Becket announced on Tuesday it is in court against the commonwealth on behalf of Mike and Kitty Burke, who went through the entire application and review process for fostering needy children, and potentially adopting them, only to be refused because of their Catholic faith.
"After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents," the couple said in a statement released by their lawyers. "We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home."
Becket reported that children in foster care in Massachusetts are waiting for families, as the Department of Children and Families has been unable to recruit enough foster homes or facilities.
Some 1,500 children now are without families, and, Becket reported, "The crisis has become so extreme that the state has resorted to housing children in hospitals for weeks on end."
The couple was rejected solely because of their faith, after they explained they would be supportive of any child, but could not abandon their faith's definition of sexuality.
Becket explained, "During their application process, the Burkes underwent hours of training, extensive interviews, and an examination of their home. Mike and Kitty completed the training successfully and received high marks from the instructors.
However, during their home interviews, the Burkes were troubled that many questions centered on their Catholic views about sexual orientation and gender dysphoria. In response, the Burkes emphasized that they would love and accept any child, no matter the child's future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity."
But they also said they would continue to hold to their religious beliefs about gender and human sexuality, and for that reason they were rejected.
"It takes the heroic effort of parents like Mike and Kitty to provide vulnerable children with loving homes through foster care," explained Lori Windham, Becket senior counsel.
"Massachusetts' actions leave the Burkes, and families of other faiths, out in the cold. How can they explain this to children waiting for a home?"
The Supreme Court already has ruled on a closely related question. WND reported when the high court, in a unanimous decision, said Philadelphia could not force Catholic Social Services to violate its biblical beliefs in order to comply with the city's "non-discrimination" requirement concerning unmarried and same-sex duos.
The court's decision demolished Philadelphia's attempt to "cancel" Christian foster care agencies that refused city demands to violate their biblical standards and refer children to unmarried or same-sex couples.
Becket also fought that battle.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, at the time, said the decision "is a substantial win for religious liberty. In a time of growing hostility towards religion the Supreme Court's reaffirmation of this fundamental freedom is even more critical."
He continued, "Despite the pitiful dearth of foster-care agencies in the United States, the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia excluded a faith-based charity from helping to meet the growing need, based upon their religious beliefs that compel them to serve. If these and other government leaders really do care for the marginalized and needy as they claim, then they must realize you cannot rob charities of their religious beliefs and still expect their religious works that aid others. It is those very beliefs from which their service springs.
"Increasingly, the Left refuses to tolerate the slightest deviation from their political orthodoxy regardless of who suffers as a result. While we stop to celebrate and thank God that the Supreme Court reaffirmed religious liberty today, we are fully aware and prepared for the attacks of the Left on this fundamental, God-given freedom to continue unabated," he said.
Becket explained of the current case: "Mike and Kitty Burke are a Catholic couple from Massachusetts who have long wanted to become parents. Mike is an Iraq war veteran, Kitty is a former paraprofessional for special needs kids, and together they run a business and perform music for Mass. Mike and Kitty began exploring becoming foster parents through the state's foster care program, hoping to care for and eventually adopt children in need of a stable, loving home like theirs."
The complaint notes that state officials accused the couple of being "devoutly Roman Catholic" to the point they "not only attend church with regular frequency, they both also work for local churches as musicians."
Further, they were charged with believing "that children should not undergo procedures that attempt to change their God-given sex..."
Transgenderism for children, including body-mutilating surgeries, in fact, is one of the main agenda points for the Joe Biden administration, the other being abortion.
The complaint charges the bureaucracy with unconstitutional discrimination, as regulations and policy "and the Massachusetts Foster Parent Bill of Rights" ban religious discrimination.
Becket pointed out in the filing that the standard means that the rule also would ban "many Muslims, Jews, Protestant Christians, and other groups who have similar religious teachings," and that the Constitution does not allow that.
Defendants include state officials Linda Spears, Laurie Sullivan, Anna Moynahan, Theresa Harris, Dawn Sweetman, Tywanna Jones, Caitlyn Levine, Euphemia Molina, Stacy Clark, Luz Estrada and Angel Emerson.
The case charges multiple violations of the U.S. Constitution.