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Lesbian couple challenges Christian adoption standard

There are many couples in Fort Worth, Texas, and Tarrant, Texas, who want to adopt. Some only want to adopt babies, while others are open to adopting older and special needs children. Sometimes, couples pursuing adoption may face hurdles and allege that those hurdles are due to unfair discrimination, as is the case with a Texas lesbian couple.

That couple is suing both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), contending that they were not allowed to adopt a refugee child due to qualifications that the religious charity overseeing the placement of the child insisted upon, but with which the couple feels are unfair. The religious charity, Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW), is affiliated with the USCCB. It allegedly used a religious test, insisting that prospective adoptive couples "mirror the Holy Family", when determining the suitability of prospective adoptive and foster parents.

The couple argues that this is a violation of the Constitution, and that CCFW, and by extension USCCB, are putting their religious values over what the couple feels are the best interests of the child. The case could have an effect beyond Texas, since USCCB helps the government secure placements for refugee children in multiple states. The couple says that the reference to the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, represents a preference for families with a father and a mother and is correspondingly discriminatory against lesbian couples.

The couple says that their orientation should not preclude them from adopting, contending that they are able to provide support, stability and love to a child placed with them. Many faith-based adoption groups in Texas as well as in other states, however, have standards along the same line as that attributed to CCFW. Additionally, Texas passed a law in 2017 extending legal protection to those groups, specifically in regards to those groups turning away prospective parents based on religious standards.

Source: The Hill, "Texas lesbians sue HHS after allegedly being told they couldn't adopt a child," Luis Sanchez, Feb. 20, 2018

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