I thought I would pass this along for anyone interested in how things are going.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 September 2013
Committee Adjourns Without Vote on Bills Denying Homes to Foster Children
As thousands of emails were sent in protest, legislators serving on the Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors postponed their vote.
LANSING – The Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors has adjourned without voting on two bills currently before the committee, House Bills 4927 and 4928, which would allow adoption agencies the ability to deny an adoption placement based on that agency’s moral or religious beliefs. The committee hearing on the bills will reconvene at a later date at which time additional testimony will be taken. Emily Dievendorf, managing director of Equality Michigan testified against the bills alongside parents and advocates from partner organizations.
Michigan has 14,000 children in foster care at any one time. These bills could threaten the placement of the over 3,000 foster care children whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated and who are just waiting for homes. Yet the bills acknowledge that denying a couple based on religious or moral convictions does not imply “that the proposed adoption is not in the best interests of the adoptee.” Additionally, the bills protect public funding for agencies choosing to discriminate.
Equality Michigan, the state’s only statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, has a multi-year initiative in place to fight for the rights of LGBT families seeking adoptions and has been mounting opposition to the bill since it was announced last week.
“Today’s committee hearing is, once again, wasting our money on bills that do nothing to help the 14,000 children residing in foster care in Michigan. Anyone who stands between a child and the loving and capable family they so desperately need is not focusing on solutions, but instead adding to the problems of these young people. We can do better at caring for our most vulnerable, and we owe it to these children and to Michigan to spend more time trying,” said Emily Dievendorf, managing director of Equality Michigan, during her testimony today.
Members, supporters, and allies of Equality Michigan are encouraged to keep the pressure on by sending emails to members of the committee urging them to vote no. Over 3400 emails have already been sent, and the effort will continue until a vote is finally held. People interested in taking action can visit action.equalitymi.org for more information on taking action.
Equality Michigan has worked passionately for over 20 years to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. For more information, visit www.equalitymi.org.