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West Michigan adoption agencies respond to settlement allowing faith-based agencies to deny adoptions to LGTBQ families

"We value the support our LGBTQ+ foster and adoptive homes provide to our kids today. We believe love makes a family," said the CEO for D.A. Blodgett - St. Johns.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — This week, the state of Michigan signed a settlement in federal court that ends a lawsuit filed by a Lansing-area faith-based adoption agency. That comes after the agency sued the state, when the state announced it would no longer work with agencies refusing to work with same-sex couples.

This also comes months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for a faith-based charity in a similar case, meaning that faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan can refuse to place children in LGBTQ families.

Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said the court's ruling is binding on Michigan, limiting MDHHS's ability to enforce its non-discriminations policy under certain circumstances. In a statement, MDHHS went on to say the settlement was not the outcome they hoped for. 

Meanwhile, D.A. Blodgett - St. John's is reiterating its support in light of the settlement. 

"We value the support our LGBTQ+ foster and adoptive homes provide to our kids today," said Mary Mulliett, president and CEO of D.A. Blodgett - St. John's. "And we need more loving homes. We believe love makes a family."

Mulliett said there are more than 10,000 children in foster care in Michigan, and more than 2,000 of those have a goal of adoption. 

"It takes a diverse community to support our diverse kids and our diverse families," said Mulliett. 

Catholic Charities of West Michigan previously filed a lawsuit similar to the Lansing-area agency. The agency did not comment on the latest settlement in light of their own lawsuit. 

Bethany Christian Services, one of the nation's largest adoption agencies based in West Michigan, reversed its stance on fostering and adopting to LGBTQ+ families a few years ago. 

A spokesperson for Bethany Christian Services said in a statement: 

“With an overwhelming number of children in need of foster or adoptive families, Bethany Christians Services welcomes all who are interested in providing a safe, stable home for children and youth. As our nation continues to debate and litigate about who can adopt or foster children, Bethany remains focused on its mission of demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus to vulnerable children and families.”

MDHHS also said it plans to announce plans to build on engagement and support for LGBTQ+ families. That includes assessment of any services gaps or program enhancements. 

Mulliett also said one need here in West Michigan is not only for more foster families, but those able to take children over the age of 8 or willing to take more than one sibling. 

RELATED VIDEO: 'He's part of our family' | Kent County Adoption Day sees 27 children find forever homes

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