Michigan passes bill allowing adoption refusal on faith-based grounds

The state flag of Michigan, United States of America.

Three bills to allow faith-based agencies in Michigan to refuse adoption applications on religious reasons have passed the state's House of Representatives on Wednesday.

House Bills 4188, 4189 and 4190 will also allow agencies to refuse adoptions by same-sex couples if the adoption goes against the agency's religious beliefs, said the Detroit Free Press.

All three bills passed on 65-44 votes, with Democratic Reps. George Darany, of Dearborn, Robert Kosowski of Westland and Harvey Santana of Detroit joining nearly all of the Republicans in the Michigan House in voting in favour of the bills. Rep. Mike Callton of Nashville was the sole Republican to vote against the bills.

According to the Detroit Free Press, supporters claimed the bills would ensure the state could offer as many options for adoption as possible.

"These bills simply preserve the system we use today," Republican Rep. Andrea LaFontaine told the Detroit Free Press.

"This bill is not about who can and who cannot adopt a child," she argued. "It's about ensuring the most alternatives for people wanting to adopt a child."

Michigan Catholic Conference's Vice President for Public Policy Tom Hickson said the bills would make sure that children put up for adoption could find "loving homes" for themselves.

However, opponents cried foul and asserted that the bills simply promote discrimination.

"It's writing a check for discrimination. It's state-funded discrimination," Democrat Rep. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor lamented.

Rep. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo claimed that the bill only contributes to homophobia in Michigan. Hoadley, who is gay, said that the three bills would "put the best interest of the agency over the best interest of the child."

"It violates the constitution because it elevates some religious beliefs over others," Hoadley cautioned.

The three bills are now going to the Michigan Senate for consideration.