Michigan adoption agencies may soon be allowed to refuse LGBT applicants on religious grounds

The state flag of Michigan, United States of America.

Three bills that will allow adoption agencies to refuse LGBT applications on religious grounds are now waiting for a vote from the Michigan Senate.

According to BuzzFeed, House Bills 4188, 4189 and 4190 passed the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors on Wednesday with a 4-1 vote.

House Bill 4188 provides that adoption agencies can refuse to provide any services "under circumstances that conflict with the child placing agency's sincerely held religious beliefs contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by the child placing agency."

The bill would prevent government agencies from pursuing legal action against any adoption agency that exercised their right to refuse adoption services on grounds of religious beliefs, although the adoption agency would have to refer clients to another registered adoption agency in the State.

The three bills had passed the Michigan House of Representatives in March with a vote of 65 in favour to 44 against.

Vicki Schultz, CEO of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee & Genesee Counties, said that the bills would help ensure that adoption agencies are able to "continue helping children while honouring (their) beliefs."

Not passing these bills, she said, would force her organisation out of adoption services.

The bills have sparked complaints from some corners that they will encourage discrimination.  Senator Bert Johnson criticised the package of bills and said he does not think they are "appropriate" to the adoption process and to children.

"I think it is bad policy, and I don't think it helps the kids of the state of Michigan," he said during the vote.