A federal court has ruled that a Christian adoption agency may refuse to serve people who are LGBTQ or unmarried.

New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) had issued a regulation barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status in the furnishing of adoption services. A Christian adoption agency called New Hope Family Services, which refuses to place children with unmarried or same-sex couples on religious grounds, sued.

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino ruled in favor of the agency, declaring, “[T]he totality of the evidence indicates that [the regulation], as promulgated and enforced by OCFS, is not neutral and appears to be based on some hostility towards New Hope’s religious beliefs.”

Added D’Agostino, “The Court finds that by attempting to force New Hope to say that it is in a child’s best interests to be placed with an unmarried or same sex couple, despite New Hope’s sincere disagreement with that statement, OCFS is attempting to compel speech. Although OCFS argues that New Hope is not compelled to speak because there is an alternative, closure is surely a harsh alternative for New Hope and … it is not the most narrowly tailored means of advancing the state’s compelling interests.” (New Hope Family Servies, Inc. v. Poole)

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The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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