A single mother of five filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Human Services Monday for allegedly denying her adoption application due to her religious beliefs, according to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Jessica Bates, a single mother of five, who also lost her husband in a car crash six years prior, attempted to apply with the department to adopt children in 2022, according to the press release. Bates’ application was allegedly denied because her Christian beliefs would not allow her to “respect, accept, and support … the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of the children in her care as the department’s adoption regulations require, according to the lawsuit. (RELATED: ‘Dismantle The Systems’: Catholic Nuns Call For ‘Full Inclusion’ Of LGBTQ Community On Transgender ‘Day Of Visibility’)
“Oregon’s policy amounts to an ideological litmus test: people who hold secular or ‘progressive’ views on sexual orientation and gender identity are eligible to participate in child welfare programs, while people of faith with religiously informed views are disqualified because they don’t agree with the state’s orthodoxy,” ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, director of the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives, said in the press release. “The government can’t exclude certain communities of faith from foster care and adoption services because the state doesn’t like their particular religious beliefs.”
“Oregon’s policy makes a sweeping claim that all persons who hold certain religious beliefs—beliefs held by millions of Americans from diverse religious faiths—are categorically unfit to care for children. That’s simply not true.” – ADF Legal Counsel Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) April 3, 2023
The 41-page lawsuit explained that Bates hoped to adopt a “sibling pair” that are both under the age of 10 and began applying in March 2022. Bates said that during the trainings for the adoption she “realized that her faith might conflict with some of the Department’s expectations for adoptive parents.”
During one of the trainings, an instructor noted that Oregon law required adoptive parents to “affirm” a child’s gender identity, sexual orientation and preferred pronouns, according to the lawsuit. Prospective parents are also barred from sharing beliefs that do not promote these values.
Bates explained in an email to representatives from the department that these requirements would contradict her faith and allegedly did not receive a response for over a month despite additional attempts to connect, according to the lawsuit. On Sept. 22, a department representative informed Bates that she was no longer eligible to adopt due to her religious beliefs.
Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, ADF legal counsel, said in the press release that Oregon’s “sweeping claim” about certain parents being “unfit” to adopt due to their religious beliefs is “simply not true.”
“Oregon is putting its political agenda above the needs of countless children who would be happy to grow up in a loving, Christian home like Jessica’s,” Widmalm-Delphonse said. “We urge the court to remind the state of its constitutional and moral obligations and reaffirm Jessica’s First Amendment right to live out her faith without being penalized by the government.”
The Oregon Department of Human Services did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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