The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was ordered by a federal judge on Monday to pay $250,000 to a Catholic charity, which was forced to violate its religious beliefs.
As per the Christian Headlines, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to make a payment after finally conceding it will lose in a separate case filed in the United States Supreme Court. The Catholic Charities West Michigan, a non-profit organization, filed the lawsuit in 2019 when the state released its mandate to place orphans in LGBT homes.
In January, the department similarly agreed to pay the St. Vincent Catholic Charities $550,000 who was forced to place children for adoption by same-sex couples. The United States Supreme Court ordered the department to make the settlement for violating the First Amendment.
The state of Michigan passed a law in 2015 protecting religious non-profits if they do not wish to place children in homes contrary to their religious beliefs, including same-sex homes. Then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who signed the law, raised that it would be impossible to make significant progress in the adoption process without partnerships with private religious organizations who facilitate it. Snyder raised that the state is focused on ensuring orphans get adopted to as many loving families as possible "regardless of makeup."
Catholic Charities West Michigan, founded in 1947, upholds the biblical teaching on marriage being a "sacramental union of one man and woman" and that children should be placed in homes with such an environment to ensure their holistic growth.
But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in 2019 that all adoption agencies and foster care that contract with the state are required to work with same-sex couples. The Catholic Charities thereafter filed the lawsuit, which raised that Nessel's mandate is contrary to the United States and Michigan Constitutions.
The nonprofit pointed out that the mandate would "immediately suspend their foster care and public adoption ministry," which places thousands of children in foster homes annually. For 2021 alone, the organization has completed the adoption of 4,500 children.
As per the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division, the complaints raised by Catholic Charities have been "dismissed with prejudice," particularly "against MDHHS."
"MDHHS will pay Plaintiff two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and zero cents ($250,000.00) within sixty (60) days of the entry date of this Agreement in full satisfaction of all claims for attorney fees and costs in the Litigation by the Plaintiff. Payment shall be submitted for the benefit of Plaintiff to the Alliance for Defending Freedom in the amount of $243,535.00 and to David, Wierenga & Lauka, PC in the amount of $6,465.00," the order read.
The settlement also stipulated that neither party can claim an appeal. The department "maintains discretion to approve Plaintiff's request to return the referral of a foster child previously placed with Plaintiff." However, the department is not allowed to take any action against Catholic Charities' license, as well as, terminate or impede renewal of their contract on the grounds of the latter disagreeing to place children in same-sex or unmarried adopting couples.