In 2015, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage protections were to be extended to gay and lesbian couples. Unfortunately, that ruling has not afforded same-sex families universal acceptance. Recently, an adoption agency filed a civil suit against New York state in an effort to prevent same-sex couples from adopting children.
The agency, New Hope Family Services, has enlisted the assistance of the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization that is known for resisting equality for same-sex families in civil cases. The adoption service is accusing the state of infringing on its rights regarding freedom of religion by requiring the agency to extend its services to all families. An investigation by the Office of Children and Families determined that the agency was purportedly refusing to accept applications from those who identified as being in a same-sex relationship.
The agency reportedly had a policy that instructed employees to request that same-sex couples supply their personal contact information. The couple would then be informed that the director would contact them in the near future. They would then be told that the agency does not place children with a same-sex couple based on its religious beliefs. In this way, the agency could claim that it does not deny adoption applications based on same-sex marriage since it would not allow these potential parents to formally file applications.
New Hope is seeking an exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination laws. A lawsuit filed in the past against New York involving another adoption agency ended in the closing of that organization’s adoption services in the state. The revised policies of the OCFS state that parents are not to be rejected on the basis of their marital status or gender identity. Same-sex families who have faced similar discrimination or have other problems involving a family law issue may be best served by consulting with an experienced attorney.