Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Consequence of redefining marriage -- loss of religious liberties

Here's a story which highlights the consequences of legalizing same sex marriage or giving marriage-like legal status for same sex couples - loss of freedoms for religious-based foster care providers which believe placing children in households headed up by a married man and woman is in the best interest of children.

Since Illinois passed a law creating same-sex civil unions this year, faith-based groups that place children into foster care homes have increasingly found themselves left out in the cold.

Last week, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) informed the Evangelical Child and Family Agency (ECFA) — a 61-year-old group that has been contracting with the state to place foster children in homes since 1965 — that its contract will not be renewed in the new fiscal year, since the agency won’t place kids with same-sex couples.

ECFA is one of several faith-based groups that have had to make such a choice this year. Like Lutheran Child and Family Services, ECFA’s policy is to only place foster children with married couples; another group announced this summer it would change its policy in order to continue contracting with the state. Catholic Charities has chosen to fight the matter in court, but has not met with success so far. The civil unions law took effect on June 1.

“They’re saying all agencies that contract with DCFS need to be an ‘agent of the state,’” said ECFA Executive Director Ken Withrow. “Til now, the understanding was that we would be partners with the state — in our case,recruiting evangelicals to become foster care parents.”

Though DCFS cited the state’s civil unions law to ECFA, Withrow said it’s just a cover.

“We tend to disagree with that, because the act says nothing in it will
interfere with religious organizations. They prefer only to contract with
secular agencies,” he explained.
Yes, there would be significant ramifications to redefining marriage in Minnesota.

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