New York Court Rules Christian Adoption Agency Can Reject Applications from Same-Sex or Unmarried Couples
In early September, the United States District Court Northern District of New York ruled that a Christian adoption agency is allowed to deny applications from same-sex or unmarried couples.
The decision, handed down by U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino, found that attempts by the New York Office of Children and Family Services to revoke New Hope Family Services, Inc.'s authorization to place children for adoption constituted a violation of their first amendment right to free speech.
New York law prohibits "discrimination and harassment against applicants for adoption services on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, religion, or disability." Despite that law, the court found that New Hope Family Services, Inc. could not both comply with the law and express its view covered under the first amendment that adoption by unmarried and same-sex couples is not in the best interests of a child.
The court found that in addition to upholding the first amendment rights of New Hope Family Services, Inc., closing the agency would decrease the number of adoptive families available, which would be against the state's interest of maximizing the number of children placed with families.
The court also found that the New York Office of Children and Family Services provided no evidence of complaints from referred couples, referred couples that were unable to adopt, referred couples that suffered from increased wait times or costs, or lengthening waiting lists at agencies without New Hope's referral policy.
As such, the court ruled that New Hope Family Services, Inc. would be allowed to continue rejecting applications from same-sex or unmarried couples.