December 2017 Church & State - December 2017

N.D. Couple Sues Catholic Charities For Preventing Adoption

  AU admin

A North Dakota couple is suing Catholic Charities after the taxpayer-funded agency allegedly prevented them from adopting a girl because they were living together and had not yet been married.

James and Tahnee Young of Fargo said they were matched up with a 15-year-old girl who was living in foster care five months before their July wedding date, according to a report by the Associated Press. The couple said they had not yet met the girl, but had hoped to adopt her in time to include her as a bridesmaid in their wedding ceremony.

The AP reported they had a 90-minute placement interview with the teen’s social worker, who allegedly told them she “would get things moving” in hopes the adoption could be completed before the wedding.

“Everything was fully disclosed up front and there was absolutely no concern whatsoever” about the Youngs’ premarital status, James Young said.

However, the Youngs said they were eventually told the adoption was off because they were living together as an unmarried couple.

“The social worker said we had to abide by the church’s teachings,” James Young said. “They said we were living in sin and it goes all the way back to the pope.”

Catholic Charities’ attorney did not respond to The AP’s request for comment. The couple, who said they are representing themselves because they can’t find a lawyer who does not have conflict of interest with Catholic Charities, is seeking $6.5 million in damages.

“We want the child,” James said. “But we don’t want this to ever happen to any other adoptive parent. This is hurting the child.”

The American Civil Liberties Union on Sept. 19 filed a similar lawsuit in Michigan on behalf of two same-sex couples who were turned away by taxpayer-funded placement agencies. 

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