An Oregon mother is suing the state after her application to adopt two children was denied because she refused to abide by the state’s LGBTQ-affirming policies.
Jessica Bates is an ultrasound technician and mother of five biological children whose father, her late husband, passed away in a car accident in 2017. She explained that despite having children already, she felt called to care for children in Oregon’s foster care last year, which is when she began her application to adopt.
During the application process, Bates found a specific requirement all applicants must be willing to comply with in order to adopt. The policy states that parents must be willing to not only affirm a child’s chosen gender identity but would also be expected to assist them in a medical transition if that is what the child asks for.
Bates says that the policy directly contradicts her Christian beliefs. She contacted the Oregon Department of Health Services (ODHS) employee in charge of her application and explained her position, stating the following:
“I need to let you know I cannot support this behavior in a child. I have no problem loving them and accepting them as they are, but I would not encourage them in this behavior. I believe God gives us our gender/sex and it’s not something we get to choose,” Jessica Bates said.
The Oregon State Code outlining the qualifications applicants must meet states that parents must, “Respect, accept and support . . . sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression,” of a foster or adopted child.
Bates’ lawsuit states that an ODHS official later asked her if she would “hypothetically” provide cross-sex hormones to a child who identifies with the opposite gender and wishes to “transition.” Bates responded by stating that medically transitioning a minor is “child abuse.”
After her application to adopt was denied, Bates filed a federal complaint against the ODHS, the state entity responsible for the rule requiring adoptive parents to commit to affirming the perceived identities and sexual orientations of children.
“The Oregon Department of Human Services (the Department or DHS) has promulgated a rule [Section 413-200-0308(2)(k)] that persons seeking to adopt must ‘accept’ and ‘support’ the sexual orientation and gender identity of any child the state could place in the applicant’s home,” the complaint said.
Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Bates, alleges that the ODHS discriminates against potential foster and adoptive parents based on their religious beliefs and practices.
“Under this rule, caregivers must agree to use a child’s preferred pronouns, take a child to affirming events like Pride parades, or sign the child up for dangerous pharmaceutical interventions like puberty blockers and hormone shots—no matter a child’s age, no matter whether a child actually desires these things, and no matter how deeply these requirements violate the caregiver’s religious convictions," the complaint said.
Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom stated, “Oregon is putting its political agenda above the needs of countless children who would be happy to grow up in a loving, Christian home like Jessica’s. We urge the court to remind the state of its constitutional and moral obligations and reaffirm Jessica’s First Amendment right to live out her faith without being penalized by the government.“
This piece originally appeared on TPUSA.