Governor Rick Snyder
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been condemned by American LGBT rights groups for signing a package of anti-gay adoption bills into law.
Ignoring an outcry from around the US, the Michigan Senate passed the three bills, which have been described by activists as “dangerously broad and extreme,” on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder approved the bills, citing the importance of protecting “religious beliefs.”
The laws will allow faith-based adoption agencies in the state to refuse to place children with parents who violate their religious beliefs, such as same-sex, unmarried or other faith couples.
Critics, including the ACLU of Michigan, have pointed out that these agencies receive taxpayer funding from the state, and should not be allowed to use their religious beliefs to discriminate.
“Agencies have a legal obligation to ensure the best interests of the child are considered during placement. There is nothing about this shameful legislation that helps vulnerable kids find homes,” said Rana Elmir, ACLU of Michigan Deputy Director.
The organisation said it was in the process of developing a lawsuit to challenge the legislation.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBT group, also condemned Snyder for signing the bills into law.
“Governor Rick Snyder has proven today that he has utter disdain for the welfare of children in Michigan and that he cares only about empowering backwards discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This legislation keeps children in need out of the loving homes they deserve, and it sets this great state back decades.”
Michigan lawmakers are also considering other anti-gay legislation, similar to that controversially passed in Indiana, which would allow individuals to refuse to serve anyone on the basis of their religious beliefs.