New York to pay Christian agency $250,000 in lawsuit settlement over LGBT child placements
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The New York State Office of Children and Family Services has agreed to pay a Christian adoption agency $250,000 in legal fees to settle a lawsuit filed after the state tried to force the agency to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried heterosexual couples in violation of its faith ethics, the Christian Post (CP) reports.
Funded entirely independently of the government, the New Hope Family Services charitable adoption agency was told by New York OCFS in 2018 that, because it refused to place children with gay or unmarried couples, it violated a law prohibiting discrimination against applicants based on sexual orientation and marital status, CP said. OCFS ordered the agency to comply or be shut down.
Defending its right to operate in accordance with its religious beliefs, New Hope filed suit against the state, CP reports. The court of first instance ruled against the agency, but in July 2020, the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the District Court. In October 2020, US District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino granted New Hope a preliminary injunction against the state law, determining that OCFS’ stance “demonstrates some animosity towards particular religious beliefs.”
Then, a year after the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Philadelphia was wrong to exclude a Catholic charity from its foster program because the organization refused to place children with same-sex couples, Judge D’Agostino issued an order which permanently blocked the state of New York from forcing “New Hope to process applications from, or place children for adoption with, same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples, and insofar as it would prevent New Hope from referring such couples to other agencies.”
In a statement announcing the settlement, New Hope said: “On behalf of the children waiting to be adopted and the prospective parents partnering with New Hope to provide loving and stable homes, we’re pleased to favorably settle this case and ensure the organization can continue its vital service to the Syracuse community.”