News Release: Catholic Conference Responds to National Efforts Challenging Michigan’s Adoption Legislation

Lawsuit Comes During MCC’s ‘Freedom to Serve’ Statewide Advertising Project

A foster family prepares for a meal

September 20, 2017

(Lansing, Mich.) — On the heels of a statewide advertising project undertaken by the Catholic Church in Michigan titled “Freedom to Serve” that promotes religious agencies and their work in the public square, out-of-state advocacy entities today announced a campaign to disparage Michigan’s efforts to ensure diversity in child placement. Michigan Catholic Conference released the following comments today in support of the 2015 state law that protects religious liberty rights for faith-based adoption and foster care placement agencies:

“It is completely dishonest for out-of-state, litigious entities to allege a “ban” on adoptions in Michigan. This state is nationally recognized for having secured a diverse and tolerant child placement environment with the 2015 law. Faith-based agencies comprise a significant percentage of adoption and foster care placements in the state; their work has spanned decades and has placed thousands of vulnerable children in loving homes over many years. Their work also provides material assistance to the homeless, counseling to those afflicted by addictions, placement for refugees fleeing war-torn countries, and other invaluable services to the vulnerable among us. Catholic agencies are staffed and administered by persons who love their job, are dedicated to helping families, and bring their faith with them into the workplace to serve others.

“Michigan’s 2015 adoption law was necessary to promote diversity in child placement and to maintain a private/public partnership that would stabilize the adoption and foster care space for years to come. This suit challenging Michigan’s law is mean-spirited, divisive and intolerant. It is counter-productive toward efforts to assist vulnerable persons and to promote a variety of opportunities for differing families. It is imperative for the state law to be defended from yet another egregious attack on religious faith in public life.”

Earlier this year Michigan Catholic Conference launched a statewide advertising effort to promote the freedom for religious agencies to serve others. Placed on television stations across Michigan and titled “Freedom to Serve,” the advertising draws attention to the work Catholic schools, health care facilities, and charitable agencies play in communities across the state, particularly for poor and low-income persons. One commercial highlights the role Catholic Charities continues to play in providing free water to those affected by the Flint water disaster. Another shares the story of Catholic Charities agencies that support and care for refugees and immigrants displaced from perilous locations across the globe. Catholic schools and the faith-based education they provide are the subject of a current television spot. Next month, Catholic health care agencies and their staff will highlight their work to care for sick persons in their communities. Watch the “Freedom to Serve” commercials and short videos at

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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