A Christian adoption provider has had separate legal victories over New York State agencies after it had refused to place children with unmarried and same sex couples.
New Hope Family Services first won a settlement from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) which tried to close it down.
“The state of New York was so determined to silence or destroy New Hope Family Services that it violated New Hope’s First Amendment rights and launched a barrage of unlawful and discriminatory attacks against the organisation,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Roger Brooks who acted for the adoption agency.
“Thankfully, that harassment has come to an end. The government can’t force a faith-based nonprofit to choose between violating its religious beliefs or losing its ability to serve adoptive parents and children,” he added.
“This is a victory for children waiting to be adopted, prospective parents partnering with New Hope who want to provide loving and stable homes, and the entire Syracuse community,” Mr. Brooks continued.
CBN News reports that earlier a federal judge ruled New York cannot force or shut down the adoption agency for declining to provide adoption services to unmarried persons or same-sex couples.
He cited free speech protections granting New Hope a summary judgment and ruling the state couldn’t “compel the agency to process applications from, or place children for adoption with, same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples.”
The state ultimately backed down and agreed to pay nearly A$400,000 in legal fees and costs and pledged to no longer target New Hope.
CBN News reports the New York Division of Human Rights also threatened the adoption service because it only placed children with married heterosexual couples, even after the OFCS case.
It followed New Hope’s refusal to adopt to a man in a same sex relationship.
Federal courts again found that the state likely violated the adoption agency’s First Amendment rights by attempting to force it to violate its religious beliefs.
The state settled by paying around A$40,000 and agreeing to no longer harass New Hope.
“Every child deserves a home with a loving mother and father who are committed to each other,” said New Hope Family Services Executive Director Kathy Jerman.
“It’s regrettable that New York ever threatened to shut down our adoption services, through which we have placed more than 1,000 children with adoptive families since we began in 1965.”
“We live in a diverse state, and we need more adoption providers, not fewer. We’re grateful this case has reached a favourable end that allows us to keep serving children and families,” Ms. Jerman added.