Snyder signs bill targeting adoption by LGBT families, expects litigation to follow

Jun 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law Thursday that will allow faith-based adoption groups to refuse to serve LGBT couples at their own discretion — and he expects litigation will be filed to challenge the statute's constitutionality. 

Contending the legislation affords Michigan children the "greatest opportunity" to be placed in a foster care home, Snyder praised the "public-private partnerships" that handle the state's adoption process in a statement Thursday. 

“We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup," Snyder said. 

That would seemingly contradict with the law's language, which says neither the state, nor any municipality, could take an "adverse action" against an adoption agency — of which many receive public funding — for rejecting a couple based on "sincerely held religious beliefs."

Asked for comment, the governor's office pointed to the following passage in the law, which says any agency that declines service are required to "promptly" provide information and a list of alternative agencies that are — in the words of Snyder's office — "willing and able to serve them." 

Whether the law would stand up to legal scrutiny is "something we'll find out," Snyder told The Associated Press.

In an email to MT, Sara Wurfel, the governor's spokesperson, said the governor "doesn’t ever sign anything he believes would be unconstitutional."

"We can’t be clearer," Wurfel said. 'The governor’s and administration’s overarching goal and priority remains to get as many kids adopted in Michigan as possible with their forever family – regardless of the family’s makeup, whether heterosexual or LGBT." Wurfel said the legislation codifies practices already in place in the state. 

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on same-sex marriage in the coming weeks, the decision by Snyder to sign the legislation was immediately met with vocal opposition by critics.

“Gov. Snyder has a history of siding with extreme corporate donors, but sacrificing the health and well-being of children is a new low — even for him,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of the Lansing-based liberal group Progress Michigan, in a statement.