Michigan Bill Regarding Religious Freedom of Adoption Agencies (HB 4188)
This law was last updated on Dec 6, 2016
HB 4188 belongs to a package of bills (along with HB 4189 and HB 4190) that permit adoption agencies to refuse service to same-sex or unmarried couples if that goes against their religious beliefs.
HB 4188 amends current Michigan law regulating child care organizations to apply to child placing agencies involved in both foster care and adoption services.
HB 4188 prohibits a child placing agency from being required to provide any services if those services conflict with, or provide any services under circumstances that conflict with, the child placing agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by the child placing agency.
The law prohibits the state or a local unit of government from taking adverse action against a child placing agency on the basis that the child placing agency has declined or will decline to provide any services that conflict with, or provide any services under circumstances that conflict with, the child placing agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
If a child placing agency declines to provide any services, they must provide in writing information advising the applicant of the department’s website, the Michigan adoption resource exchange or similar subsequently utilized websites, and a list of adoption or foster care service providers with contact information and must do at least one of the following:
- Promptly refer the applicant to another child placing agency that is willing and able to provide the declined services; or
- Promptly refer the applicant to the webpage on the department’s website that identifies other licensed child placement agencies.
If the DHHA makes a referral to a child placing agency under a contract with the agency, the agency may decide not to accept the referral if the services conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Child placing agency will have sole discretion in deciding whether to perform foster care management or adoption services related to referrals from the Department.
The state or local government may not take any adverse action against any child placing agency that refuses to perform foster care management or adoption services due to their religious beliefs.
The trio of laws went into effect on September 9, 2015.