Persecution in America

New York gives Christian group 'ultimatum': change gay adoption policy or end placement program

December 12, 2018

The state of New York has given a Syracuse-based Christian adoption agency an ultimatum to either change their adoption policy forbidding placement with same-sex couples or no longer be able to provide adoption services, a new lawsuit details.

New Hope Family Services has filed a federal lawsuit against the acting commissioner of the state’s Office of Children and Family Services on the ground that the nonprofit could be forced to phase out its adoption program if it doesn’t change its policy prioritizing placement in homes with both a mother and a father.

According to the lawsuit, New Hope does not accept state funding and funds its ministry through churches, donors and private grants.

But after reviewing the New Hope’s policies, OFCS labeled New Hope’s policy on gay adoption “discriminatory and impermissible.”

“The letter provided an ultimatum that New Hope either ‘revise the present policy and continue the existing adoption program’ or ‘fail to bring the policy into compliance with the regulation,’ in which case ‘OCFS will be unable to approve continuation of [New Hope’s] current adoption program and [New Hope] will be required to submit a close-out plan for the adoption program,’” the lawsuit explains.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s ultimatum for New Hope would force the agency “to choose either to violate its faith or cease exercising its religion by closing its adoption ministry.”

New Hope’s legal battle comes as adoption agencies in various parts of the country have faced similar ultimatums in the past decade.

In the past several years, faith-based adoption and foster care providers in Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and California have had to halt their adoption services in the last decade-plus because of policies forbidding agencies from barring children from being placed with same-sex couples.

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