Authorities in Pendleton, Oregon, have told a woman that she cannot adopt a baby because she is a Christian.
Jessica Bates had begun the process to get state approval to adopt a child from Oregon’s foster care program last year. But recently the Oregon Department of Human Services denied her application because she must agree to “respect, accept, and support … the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of a child should that child later decide he or she is gay or transgender. Because she is a Christian, Bates refused to agree to requirement.
Per the Alliance Defending Freedom:
“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,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, director of the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives. “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.”
During her application process, Bates alerted ODHS that she will happily love and accept any child, but she cannot say or do something that goes against her Christian faith. ODHS’s policy, however, excludes her and others who hold traditional religious beliefs about human nature and sexuality by requiring parents to use a child’s preferred pronouns, take a child to affirming events like Pride parades, or facilitate a child’s access to dangerous pharmaceutical interventions like puberty blockers and hormone shots if the child so requests. As such, ODHS’s policy penalizes Bates for her religious views, compels her to speak words that violate her beliefs, and deprives her of equal protection of the law because of her faith.
“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,” said ADF Legal Counsel Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse. “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.”
The ADF is suing Oregon for violating the woman’s religious rights.
As well they should.