Michigan passed a law on Thursday allowing private, religious adoption agencies to not serve prospective parents if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, voted by the legislature and signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R).

"The state has made significant progress in finding more forever homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that wouldn't be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process," said Snyder in a statement. "We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup."

LGBT supporters have expressed opposition that this allows discrimination against LGBT couples, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that it plans to file a lawsuit regarding the new law. A major concern for those against the new bill is that private agencies receive state funding.

"We are developing a lawsuit with our Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and LGBTQ partners," said Rana Elmir, deputy director of ACLU of Michigan. "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."

Backers of the new law state that the purpose of the bill is to provide as many opportunities and choices for children and parents as possible.

According to reports, faith-based adoption agencies have been closing from being compelled to place children in homes of same-sex couples and violating their religious beliefs. 25 to 30 percent of children in foster care were placed in homes by two faith-based charities in Michigan: Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services. These two agencies are reported to have written to Snyder expressing that they, too, would close their agencies if they are placed under policies that compel them to act against their religious beliefs. Faith-based agencies have closed down in Massachusetts, California, Washington, D.C., and Illinois.

"This [bill] is about making sure we get the largest number of kids in forever families," Snyder told the Christian Science Monitor. "The more opportunities and organizations we have that are doing a good job of placing people in loving families, isn't that better for all of us?"

The bill requires that any agencies that choose to decline services to prospective parents must "promptly provide information and a list of alternative adoption agencies willing and able to serve them."

A majority of the Republicans in the Michigan senate -- except for two -- favored the bill, while all of the Democrats voted against it. Democrats pushed to include amendments to the bill that required faith-based agencies to provide their policies in writing; forbid adoption agencies receiving $500,00 or more in government funding from refusing service to prospective parents; and allowing second parent adoptions for unmarried couples. None of these amendments were included in the bill.

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