VIDEO: Same-Sex Couple Heads to Court to Challenge Michigan’s Anti-LGBTQ Child Welfare LawBy Shane Stahl • July 12, 2018 • 10:45 am
Dana and Kristy Dumont, a same-sex couple in Michigan, head to court today represented by the ACLU in the case of Dumont v. Lyon, challenging a Michigan law that allows both private and publicly-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people when placing a child for adoption or foster care by claiming a religious or moral objection.
Ahead of the hearing, the ACLU has released a new video sharing Dana and Kristy’s story:
In 2017, the Dumonts reached out to two different adoption agencies in the Lansing area, seeking to begin the process of adopting a child. However, when the agencies learned the women were a couple, they refused to work with them. Following this turn of events, the couple contacted the ACLU, who filed suit on their behalf in September of that year.
Ten states have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families – Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Six of those laws were passed in 2017 or 2018, the most recent in Kansas and Oklahoma. While similar efforts have been thwarted in states including Georgia and Colorado, just yesterday, the Appropriations Committee in the United States House of Representatives adopted an amendment to a Labor-HHS appropriations bill granting taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies a similar shameful license to discriminate.
These discriminatory actions only hurt the tens of thousands of children in foster and adoption systems across the country. Allowing agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people further delays the possibility of a child being placed in a loving home. According to data from the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in states with these discriminatory laws on the books in 2015. Same-sex couples are exponentially more likely to be interested in adopting children or serving as foster parents.
Following the recent House vote and passage of legislation in Kansas and Oklahoma, the Dumont case will serve as an important litmus test to the constitutionality of such laws – and it’s vital that we unite, strike down such shameful laws, and #PutKidsFirst.