The Michigan Legal System Can Deny Same-Sex Couples the Right to Adopt


Alexa Schumann, Bleu Print Staff

Michigan is one of ten states in the United States that can deny same-sex couples adoption based on their sexual orientation. 

While many Christian adoption agencies in Michigan support the “ban” due to their religious beliefs, Michigan’s first openly lesbian Attorney General (A.G.), Dana Nessel, is fighting for equal rights and equal chances in the legal system.

“Now and forever I will fight to support the constitutional precepts of separation of church and state and equal protection under the law for all Michigan residents and all Americans,” Nessel tweeted. 

Nessel received a lot of backlash from Christian communities when she announced an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan after a couple sued for their right to adopt. 

St. Vincent Catholic Charities, an adoption agency that denied a same-sex couple adoption, was being “targeted based on its religious belief,” Judge Robert Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan said. “These statements raise a strong inference of hostility toward a religious viewpoint.” 

Ciena Ratliff (‘20), a former CHS student now enrolled in Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, was adopted at birth into a family of four, her two brothers also were adopted. Growing up with an adopted family from birth helped Ciena grow and learn to accept others and their backgrounds, no matter the situation. 

“In general, I’m not sure that religion should affect the court of law because it is in our constitution that we have religious freedom, and I think that it shouldn’t be based on two people’s sexuality and/or the religion of the state. There are kids that are going through a million times worse situation yet there is still a court that is denying them, parents because those parents are gay. It just doesn’t make sense because it isn’t my job to judge people, nor is it anyone else’s job to judge others, especially based on their sexuality. If you look at it from a religious standpoint, it is God’s job to judge and decide, so why are we judging other people and permitting them from having a kid,” Ratliff said. 

Like many others, Ratliff believes that all foster care children or orphans should get equal chances and opportunities to have a home with a loving family. Ratliff also believes that children should be put first in every situation.

“We are lucky to live in a country that allows women to drive and vote, and that we all have freedom of the press and the right to bear arms, but why are we stopping there when we could be making new leaps and bounds?” Ratliff said. “We should be making America one of the best nations in the world and that’s about how we treat our citizens. By denying them the right to adopt based on their sexuality, we are not being very American. At this point, it isn’t about what you think, it is about what these kids need and what they don’t have but could have.”