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Lawsuit: Massachusetts Rejected Catholic Foster Parent Applicants Over Beliefs About Marriage and Sexuality

Lawsuit: Massachusetts Rejected Catholic Foster Parent Applicants Over Beliefs About Marriage and Sexuality

Massachusetts requires foster families to “support and respect a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A Catholic couple was denied the opportunity to become foster parents because of their religious beliefs about marriage and sexuality, according to the complaint they filed in Massachusetts federal district court earlier this week.

A copy of the complaint appears at the bottom of this post.

They claim the state’s policy violates their religious and free speech rights under the Constitution.

At a time when the state was in desperate need of qualified foster homes, Mike and Kitty Burke applied to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) to offer their own, according to their complaint. The couple allege they were willing to accept the most difficult cases: multiple siblings, children with special needs or other disabilities—regardless of racial, cultural, or ethnic background. All were welcome.

They successfully completed the lengthy application and training process, their complaint alleges. But, in retrospect, there was a red flag: An instructor allegedly told them “parents who were not willing to affirm same-sex relationships and transgender identities” should not be foster parents.

DCF regulations require foster families to “support[] and respect[] a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

That would explain the intense scrutiny of the couple’s views on gender identity during the interview process:

From the complaint, [par. 111, 112]:

  1. During the home interviews, the Burkes were troubled that much of the questioning centered around their views on sexuality and their response if a child were, in the future, to struggle with gender dysphoria or to identify as gay or lesbian. They estimate that a third of the time in the interviews was spent on these questions.


  1. In response to those questions, Mike and Kitty emphasized that they would love and accept their child, no matter his or her future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity. When asked “how they’d feel if their child identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, or any other sexuality. Kitty shared, ‘there’s nothing wrong with it, I’m going to love you the same, but I believe you would need to live a chaste life.’” … Mike agreed that “there’s nothing wrong with it.” …  He said that “he’d want to have a conversation with a child about this” at an appropriate time and reiterated that “there would not be a change” in how the Burkes would treat or love the child.

Despite this openness and the couples’ many strengths, their application was denied, they allege, for one reason and one reason only: they “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.”

The state policy amounts to “an absolute bar for Catholics who agree with the Church’s teaching on sex, marriage, and gender,” the complaint says.

The Burkes are represented by the Becket Fund.

“It takes the heroic effort of parents like Mike and Kitty to provide vulnerable children with loving homes through foster care,” said Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. “Massachusetts’ actions leave the Burkes, and families of other faiths, out in the cold. How can they explain this to children waiting for a home?”  



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Part of the challenge, and point, of the foster care system is to allow willing adults to shelter, raise, and course-correct children that would otherwise be at risk or currently are suffering from mental traumas or behavioral issues. Mandating that parents who take these kids on comply with their own delusions of gender is completely counter productive. It’s the inmates running the asylum.

Sexuality, I’m not so sure about. But the requirement that prospective foster parents cater to the whims of children sets a dangerous precedent no matter how you slice it.

There are not nearly enough Foster parents as it is

Not going to turn out well

For a state that was a leader in American freedom, Ma. today must be one sick culture under the surface.

    MAJack in reply to Whitewall. | August 10, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Massachusetts used to be guided by the principles of John Adams, today it’s guided by the directives of Chairman Mao. Glad I left…

Based on the other MA article, you need to house an immigrant family but can’t adopt a child.

E Howard Hunt | August 10, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Those nasty Burkes probably wouldn’t even cough up for summer sex camp.

What’s perverse and evil is that parents who encourage and enable their child’s “trans” narcissism and delusions are deemed fit to raise kids, but, a parent who declines to do so, is deemed to be unfit to raise kids. This is completely ass-backwards from what should be the prevailing standard.

This policy is effectively the imposition of a ‘test act’. That it disqualifies religious households is not an accident. It is a deliberate policy of discrimination/exclusion based on religious beliefs, heck based upon what was public consensus five years ago.

The Complaint launching this case confirms again how insane societal manias are driven primarily by women. From the medieval ‘saints’ who starved themselves to death to the ‘possessed’ youthful girls in French convents, to the innumerable latter-day WOKE fevers, and now this bureaucratic mandate to force people to confess their belief in Trannyism … I say this because a quick glance at the Complaint shows that each and every one of the baker’s dozen defendants is female. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …

Steven Brizel | August 11, 2023 at 9:35 am

I thought that SCOTUS had already struck down such a requrement in Philadelphia as infringing on free exercise of religion . The Plaintiffs should move for summary judgment based upon that decision