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Kaplan says the ACLU takes no issue with the state contracting with faith-based agencies, and does not challenge the right of any private child-placing agency to practice its religion.He says the ACLU’s case rests on the fact that the agencies are receiving state funding, and are using religious criteria to turn away applicants.Vincent’s custody — and gay parents have done so in the past, Barclay says.According to legislation signed in Michigan in 2015, a child-placing agency is not required to provide "services" that conflict with its “sincerely held religious beliefs." Twelve states have religious exemptions that allow faith-based child placement agencies to turn away prospective parents based on the agencies' beliefs, including Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Michigan, Virginia and Alabama, according to Wilson.They counter the ACLU argument by claiming there are legal exemptions which allow for state money to be used while respecting religious belief and seeking the best interest of children.That's perhaps the most difficult question to resolve: what is best for children in need of safe and loving homes?

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“If the state cannot turn away same-sex couples or use religious criteria when making decisions related to child welfare, then neither should agencies which receive government funding,” says Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the LGBT Project of the ACLU of Michigan. Vincent Catholic Charities, both of whom are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit law firm.In 2018, Kansas and Oklahoma passed laws that allow a faith-based agency to refuse to participate in the placement of a child for foster care and adoption if doing so would contradict the agency’s religious or moral convictions.But similar bills have died in Colorado and Georgia.Vincent has never stood in the way of an adoption taking place, and has not prevented same-sex couples from adopting children that were in St. Shamber Flore, 20, with mom and dad Tamal and Jerry Flore, center, and siblings Mercy, 9, Lucas, 10, Justice, 11, Marcus, 10, Christian, 16, Natiana, 16, Jubilee, 7, Sierra, 17, and Lexi, 17, clockwise from left foreground, outside the family's home in De Witt, Michigan, June 18, 2018.

Once a gay couple has been endorsed by another agency and licensed by the state, it can still adopt a child in St.

She would sit outside the door, confused and anxious, and wait for her mom to come back.

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