A mother in the US is suing the State of Oregon after it rejected her adoption application, which she believes was a result of her Christian views on sexual ethics.
Jessica Bates began the process of adopting two hard-to-place siblings in foster care last year, but the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) said she failed to “meet the adoption home standards”, and excluded her from accessing child welfare services.
She said in her application that she would “happily love and accept any child”, but said she would not do or say anything which conflicted with her Christian faith.
‘Ideological litmus test’
While the ODHS said adoption applicants “are considered regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation”, the claim was rubbished by religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing the mother of five.
It said the State’s child welfare department had rejected the application because Bates would not agree to “respect, accept, and support … the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of any child placed with her.
ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said: “Oregon’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.”
He added: “The government can’t exclude certain communities of faith from foster care and adoption services because the state doesn’t like their particular religious beliefs.”
‘Unfit to care for children’
Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, Legal Counsel for ADF, said: “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.
“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.”