(DailyVantage.com) – After attempting to terminate a Christian agency that handles adoptions for what they claimed was discrimination, the Office of Children and Family Services of New York State (OCFS) must pay $250,000 for their lawyer and legal expenses.
OFCS sued New Hope Family Services in December 2018 for using its religion to discriminate against couples seeking to adopt, calling its child placement policy “discriminatory and impermissible.” The courts sided with the adoption agency. The state settled with New Hope for $250,000.
New Hope had a favorable OFCS inspection in October 2018. However, a few months later, the agency’s policy on how its religious purpose promotes marriage and evaluates adoption approval altered OFCS’s review. In December 2018, New Hope filed a lawsuit after the state of New York threatened to shut its doors unless it changed its rules.
The adoption agency in Syracuse, New York, represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), stated that settling the lawsuit that challenged its religious rules will allow the organization to continue its important work. They serve their community by finding forever homes for children in need of adoption.
In a judgment issued in September 2022, a federal district judge said that the state could not close the agency because doing so would be a form of religious discrimination. The court’s interim stay imposed in 2020, during which the matter was being reviewed, was upheld in the ruling.
The senior counsel for the Adoption Defense Fund (ADF), Mark Lippelmann, has suggested that Christian adoption agencies that assist in placing children with loving families should be safeguarded rather than shut down because of their religious beliefs. New Hope is grateful that New York has upheld their right to their religious beliefs and will not pursue them for its religious standards. They are also thankful that their voice has not been silenced and that trying to prevent them from operating didn’t hinder helping a youngster find a loving home.
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