Faith-Based Adoption Center Wins 2nd Battle with State

May 20, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The New Hope Family Services in New York earlier won a battle against a state agency trying to shut it down for not meeting the state's faith requirements.

The agency works, instead, using biblical values.

It was awarded a $250,000 payment for lawyers' fees in that fight.

Now it's getting another $25,000.

A report from the ADF, which fought in court on behalf of the agency, said New Hope "secured a second victory against New York state officials."

The second dispute involved a state agency that also wanted to punish New Hope for following its religious convictions.

ADF lawyers brought the case, New Hope Family Services v. James, in 2021 after the state Division of Human Rights threatened to investigate and penalize the Christian nonprofit – because it places infants with couples consisting of a married mother and father.

"The state of New York was so determined to silence or destroy New Hope Family Services that it violated New Hope’s First Amendment rights and launched a barrage of unlawful and discriminatory attacks against the organization," said lawyer Roger Brooks. "Thankfully, that harassment has come to an end. The government can’t force a faith-based nonprofit to choose between violating its religious beliefs or losing its ability to serve adoptive parents and children. This is a victory for children waiting to be adopted, prospective parents partnering with New Hope who wants to provide loving and stable homes, and the entire Syracuse community."

The agency served threatening information demands on New Hope even though, in a separate lawsuit between New Hope and another New York state agency, two federal courts found that the state likely violated New Hope’s First Amendment rights by attempting to force it to place children in a manner inconsistent with its religious beliefs, the legal team reported.

"In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court held in another case that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment rights of a faith-based foster-care agency by invoking non-discrimination laws to force the organization to operate in violation of its religious beliefs," ADF said,

The other lawsuit, New Hope Family Services v. Poole, handed the agency a favorable result just weeks ago. There state officials agreed to pay $250,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs and ensure that New York’s Office of Children and Family Services would no longer target New Hope for its religious policies.

"Every child deserves a home with a loving mother and father who are committed to each other,” said New Hope Family Services Executive Director Kathy Jerman. “New Hope walks with adoptive families and birth parents alike to place children with adoptive families. It’s regrettable that New York ever threatened to shut down our adoption services, through which we have placed more than 1,000 children with adoptive families since we began in 1965. We live in a diverse state, and we need more adoption providers, not fewer. We’re grateful this case has reached a favorable end that allows us to keep serving children and families."

WND reported when the earlier case was resolved, a column in the Washington Examiner explained what the war in America by agencies demanding absolute adherence to their so-called "nondiscrimination" policies meant.

"Faith-based agencies argue for the right to operate according to their beliefs, even if it means adopting only to heterosexual couples. Local governments are responsible for ensuring that the agencies they partner with abide by local discrimination laws," she said.

"In a surprising settlement regarding this very issue, New York state officials have agreed to pay $250,000 in attorneys' fees and costs after attempting for years to shutter New Hope Family Services' doors. New Hope's supposed offense? Operating in accordance with its religious beliefs," she wrote.

She pointed out that the decision to give up the state campaign to close down the agency followed two key court rulings.

"One ruling in 2020 temporarily ruled in favor of the faith-based adoption provider. Another ruling in 2022 prohibited the state of New York from enforcing state law 'insofar as it would compel New Hope to process applications from, or place children for adoption with, same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples, and insofar as it would prevent New Hope from referring such couples to other agencies,'" she explained.

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