A couple from Massachusetts has initiated legal proceedings, claiming they faced prejudicial treatment in their effort to become foster parents.
Mike Burke, a veteran of the Iraq War, and his wife Kitty assert that even though they had no criminal history and satisfied all other criteria, officials rejected them on the basis of their religious beliefs concerning transgender issues and marriage, deeming those views as not "supportive," Redstate reports.
Becket, the non-profit legal organization backing the Burkes, released the following statement:
When Mike and Kitty applied to become foster parents in 2022, they underwent hours of training, which they completed successfully. Their instructor reported their positive contributions in the class to DCF, noting that the couple helped to enrich the training program for other parents. The Burkes also underwent extensive interviews and a home study. Throughout this process, Mike and Kitty emphasized their willingness to foster children from diverse backgrounds and with special needs. They expressed their openness to fostering sibling groups, as well, so that children in need could maintain those critical family ties. In all respects, the Burkes were an ideal foster family.
During their home interviews, however, the Burkes were troubled that much of the questions centered on their Catholic views on sexual orientation, marriage, and gender dysphoria. In response to these questions, the Burkes emphasized that they would love and accept any child, no matter the child’s future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity. However, because Mike and Kitty said they would continue to hold to their religious beliefs about gender and human sexuality, Massachusetts denied them a license to foster any child because, as the reviewer put it, “their faith is not supportive and neither are they.”
The complete text of the lawsuit is accessible here.
In the lawsuit's text, the sole justification for denying them was that they “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.” Rather than merely avoiding the placement of a child who “identifies” in this manner with them, the Burkes were entirely prohibited from fostering any children.
Even though the State of Massachusetts is dealing with a significant shortage of foster parents, with a striking number of 1,500 children without homes at this time, the denial happened. It's logical to conclude that the vast majority of these children do not “identify” as LGBTQIA, making this decision all the more difficult to justify.
This situation can be likened to the expectation placed on women to give up spaces, including restrooms, for a small fraction of the general population. In a similar vein, children in need of homes are being denied them so the state can ensure the “affirmation” of a tiny part of the foster population.
The lawsuit digs deep into the troubling foster care landscape in Massachusetts, shedding light on the state's constitution and the crucial protections it should offer in safeguarding the religious liberties of those eager to become foster parents.