Michigan Legislature Passes Bills Allowing Adoption Agencies to Turn Away Gay Couples

To sign, or not to sign: Gov. Rick Snyder faces a dilemma.

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Update, June 11, 2015: Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bills into law.

On Wednesday, the Michigan legislature passed three bills that would let publicly funded adoption agencies refuse to place children with same-sex parents if the agencies object on religious grounds. Predictably, the vote split along mostly partisan lines, with Republicans supporting the measures and Democrats opposing them. The House has already passed the bills, which now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for a signature. Snyder has not yet stated whether he plans to veto the discriminatory measures.


The Michigan bills mark yet another effort by conservative legislators to push back against the rise of marriage equality by permitting businesses and agencies—even those funded by the government—to refuse service to gays. Republicans in the Florida legislature attempted to pass a similar measure earlier this year, only to be thwarted by an unexpectedly compassionate conservative state senator. And of course, Indiana faced nationwide blowback after passing a discriminatory religious liberty law, spurring the startled governor to demand a “fix” that prevented the measure from legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination.

About 3,000 Michigan children are currently awaiting adoption. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association have all condemned the Michigan anti-gay adoption bills. A project sponsored by Columbia Law School reviewed scores of peer-reviewed studies and found that children of gay parents fare no worse than children of straight parents. One Australian study, however, has suggested that people who oppose gay rights inflict real and serious harm on the children of same-sex couples.