State's hostility toward faith-based adoption challenged in court

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible CENSOREDDon't let Albany shut us down. That's what an adoption provider is telling a federal court today in New York.

"New Hope Family Services has been operating since 1965 and it's placed over 1,000 children in loving homes in the state of New York," says attorney Jeana Hallock of Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization representing New Hope Family Services free of charge. "Unfortunately, the state of New York has decided to come after New Hope simply because it operates consistent with its religious beliefs regarding marriage and the family."

According to ADF, New Hope was told by New York State Office of Children and Family Services to change its beliefs or stop serving children – despite the fact it has never accepted state funding and has no government contracts. New Hope obtains its funding via the fees paid by adoptive parents and through support from churches, individual donors, and private grants.

New Hope asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in December to stop the state from targeting it for its religious beliefs and to preserve its ability to continue placing children in adoptive homes while the lawsuit moves forward.

Hallock

"This is the first time that a faith-based adoption provider has been willing to stand up against the state and to file a lawsuit, so this is really the first type of this kind of situation," says Hallock. "There have been numerous adoption agencies that have shut their doors because of the mandates that have come down in other states, but this is the first we're aware of an adoption provider taking on the state."

Regulations imposed during the Obama administration made it impermissible for religious agencies to choose only prospective foster parents who share the same religious beliefs. But earlier this month, while addressing the National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump vowed that his administration will always protect faith-based adoption, saying his administration is "working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their 'forever families' while following their deeply held beliefs."

At least one state attorney general – Ken Paxton of Texas – has opined that the Obama-era regulations go beyond the government's statutory authority.

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