A religious liberty law firm says there is renewed hope for a faith-based adoption provider that is fighting the State of New York.
New Hope Family Services has been in and out of courtrooms since the Office of Children and Family Services threatened to force the Syracuse-based non-profit to drop its adoption service because it places children in homes that include only a married mother and father.
New Hope fought back and filed suit in federal court only to watch its lawsuit get tossed. In July, however, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's dismissal and now the court has ruled the state can’t stop the adoption policy while the lawsuit works its way through the courts.
Roger Brooks, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, calls the court ruling “great news” for children who need to be adopted, and for the parents working with New Hope to place those children in a loving, stable home.
“Government officials have no business,” Brooks says, “forcing faith-based providers to choose between speaking messages about marriage that contradict their religious convictions or closing their doors."
Responding to the ongoing legal fight, attorney-radio host Abraham Hamilton III says the lower court tossed the case on the premise New Hope was wasting the court’s time.
“And the Second Circuit said, Excuse me, the law clearly has some religious animus and you can't just dismiss their claim,” Hamilton says of the case, “and so we're sending it back down to you to take their claim seriously because there are serious issues indicated by the record that shows the only thing that motivated the state of New York was its anti-Christian hostility.”
Hamilton, a former prosecutor, currently serves as general counsel for the Mississippi-based American Family Association.
According to Brooks, there is a “huge” need for adoption services in the state of New York and he insists the faith-based agency is not interfering with other agencies that hold different views on what is best for children.
“This ruling,” he says, “signals that the state's attempt to shutter New Hope violated core rights protected by the Frist Amendment: the freedom to speak what you believe, and the freedom to practice the teachings of your faith."
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.