Alliance Defending Freedom recently announced that it filed a lawsuit against Oregon state officials on behalf of a single mother whose adoption application was denied, allegedly because of her Christian faith.
Jessica Bates, a mother of five who applied to adopt a sibling pair from foster care last year, had her application denied by the Oregon Department of Human Services.
According to state policy, those seeking to adopt must agree to "respect, accept, and support … the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression" of any child.
Adoptive parents would be required to "use a child's preferred pronouns, take a child to affirming events like Pride parades, or sign the child up for dangerous pharmaceutical interventions like puberty blockers and hormone shots—no matter a child's age, no matter whether a child actually desires these things, and no matter how deeply these requirements violate the caregiver's religious convictions," the complaint stated.
ADF senior counsel Jonathan Scruggs said the state's policy "amounts to an ideological litmus test."
"People who hold secular or 'progressive' views on sexual orientation and gender identity are eligible to participate in child welfare programs, while people of faith with religiously informed views are disqualified because they don't agree with the state's orthodoxy," Scruggs added.
Bates explained to ODHS that she would "happily love and accept any child, but she cannot say or do something that goes against her Christian faith," ADF said.
According to the lawsuit, the state forced Bates to either abandon her Christian values or have her adoption application denied.
ODHS rejected Bates' application for failing to meet its "adoption home standards."
"Oregon's policy makes a sweeping claim that all persons who hold certain religious beliefs—beliefs held by millions of Americans from diverse religious faiths—are categorically unfit to care for children," said ADF legal counsel Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse. "That's simply not true. Oregon is putting its political agenda above the needs of countless children who would be happy to grow up in a loving, Christian home like Jessica's. We urge the court to remind the state of its constitutional and moral obligations and reaffirm Jessica's First Amendment right to live out her faith without being penalized by the government."
In January 2017, Jessica Bates and her husband, David Bates, were involved in a car crash. Jessica sustained a concussion, broken bones, and a partially collapsed lung, while David passed away at the scene of the accident. After hearing a Christian broadcast about a man who had adopted a child, Jessica was inspired to adopt a sibling pair under the age of 10 from foster care.
According to the suit, at the end of the fiscal year 2022, there were roughly 8,000 children who had spent at least one day in the state's foster care system.
The Oregon Department of Human Services did not respond to a request for comment, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
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