Roman Catholic couple in US rejected for fostering on grounds of religious beliefs

Beliefs in traditional marriage and the reality of biological sex have led to a Roman Catholic couple in America being rejected as suitable foster parents.

Mike and Kitty Burke’s application to foster was denied by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) because they “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA”.

The Burkes have now launched legal action against the state of Massachusetts on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Religious beliefs

According to court papers, during the application process the Burkes shared their beliefs “that marriage is between a woman and a man and that sexual relations are to be kept within the bounds of such a marriage”.

They also told the assessor representing the DCF, who interviewed them in their own home, that due to their “religious beliefs, they would not assist a medical gender transition for a hypothetical future child”.

In a report of the interviews, the assessor expressed concern about the Burkes’ beliefs on gender and sex and believed that neither they, nor “their faith”, would be “supportive of LGBTQIA+ youth”.

Their application was subsequently rejected by the DCF, “based on the couple’s statements/responses regarding placement of children who identified LGBTQIA”.


Religious liberty specialists Becket Law, the firm representing the Burkes, said: “Massachusetts cannot exclude religious couples like the Burkes from fostering because they are religious, nor can they punish qualified families for their deeply held religious beliefs.”

It explained: “Federal law protects the ability of religious people and organizations to foster children in need without having to forfeit their beliefs.

“Because Massachusetts was unwilling to uphold law including in its own Foster Parent Bill of Rights—Becket is going to court to enforce them.”

Mike and Kitty are said to be “absolutely devastated” not to be allowed to “welcome children in need” into their home.

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