Earlier this year, an adoption application for a Christian couple in Canada was denied because their religious beliefs were reportedly contrary to the government’s “official position.” In response, the denied parents filed a lawsuit accusing the government of religious discrimination.
Specifically, an unidentified couple in Alberta, Canada is currently suing the Ministry of Children’s Services for denying their application on the basis of their religious beliefs. Apparently, it was denied because the two of them believe that homosexuality is both a choice and a sin.
In their lawsuit, which was filed at the beginning of the month, the couple alleges that they’re essentially being told to change their religious beliefs in order to adopt. “If we did not change our religious beliefs regarding sexuality, to conform to the beliefs of Child and Family Services, we would not be approved for adoption,” they stated.
Their denial is especially troubling given the fact that a “Safe Home Study Report” filed back in February noted that they’re employed, own their own home, and have family and community networks that are happy and healthy. On top of that, they even received a strong recommendation from a Catholic Social Services worker who said in an email that she was “pleased” to recommend them for adoption.
But despite this, their application was ultimately denied. This was largely due to the report recommending that a “homosexual child” not be placed with the couple. It was noted, however, that they would unconditionally love someone who was questioning or exploring their sexuality. Their only concern is that they would not be able to ever support the “lifestyle,” which could cause the child to not feel accepted.
In a follow-up interview, the couple was asked what would happen if they adopted someone and they later came out as gay. They replied that they would seek counseling and support for the child. They also reiterated that they would not encourage the lifestyle because they’re convinced it causes a higher proportion of anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts.
In response to the lawsuit, Aaron Manton, a spokesman for Minister of Children’s Services, released a statement defending the government’s decision to deny the Christian couple’s application. “Our government believes that every adoptive child deserves a safe, healthy, loving and inclusive home. We want to ensure that, in all cases, the adoption process gives both children and parents the best possible outcomes, which is why the application process is thorough and rigorous,” explained Manton.
Sadly, religious discrimination is not uncommon. For example, a farmers’ market in Michigan was recently sued by a Catholic farmer for engaging in a similar form of discrimination. Specifically, Steve Tennes, the owner of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Michigan, sued the city of East Lansing earlier this year for enacting a new policy that essentially discriminated against him on the basis of his religion.
Although the case is still ongoing, a federal judge recently agreed to issue a preliminary injunction against the city of East Lansing. As a result, Tennes has been allowed to return to the farmers’ market for the rest of the season.
According to reports, the alleged discrimination against Tennes started shortly after he posted a status update on Facebook announcing his decision to not allow same-sex couples looking for a wedding venue to use his farm. “It remains our deeply held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and Country Mill has the First Amendment Right to express and act upon its beliefs,” read the post.
As a Catholic, this means that he won’t book same-sex weddings. Since weddings are inherently religious, and not related to his business as a farmer, he claims that he should be allowed to decide what kinds of weddings he holds.
Unfortunately, the city officials pushed back against his decision. Shortly after posting to Facebook, they urged him to stop coming to the farmers’ market. When Tennes continued to sell at the market without incident, despite concerns that people would come to protest against him, the city decided to modify the rules and subsequently deny his 2017 application. Filled with righteous indignation, Tennes decided to sue.
“Our faith and beliefs on marriage and hosting weddings at our home and in our backyard of our farm have nothing to do with the city of East Lansing,” stated Tennes during a press conference about the lawsuit. “Nor does it have anything to do with the produce that we sell to the people that attend the farmers markets who are from all backgrounds and all beliefs,” he continued, adding, “ultimately, the city developed a new policy to target and block our farm from further participation in their city-run farmers market.”