A devoted Catholic couple, Mike and Catherine “Kitty” Burke, are at the center of a contentious legal battle against the Massachusetts foster care system. Here’s the full story.
Application Denied on Religious Grounds?
The couple alleges that the state denied their application to become foster parents due to their deeply held religious beliefs.
In a lawsuit filed by the religious liberty group Becket Law, the Burkes assert that the state’s decision was based on their adherence to Catholic teachings on gender, sexuality, and marriage.
They Were Heartbroken
“After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” the couple said in a statement.
“We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home,” they added.
The Reason Behind the Decision
Their lawsuit asserts that Massachusetts unfairly targeted them by denying their foster application solely on the grounds that they would not affirm a child who identified as LGBTQIA.
The Targets of the Lawsuit
Becket Law’s lawsuit names prominent figures in the Massachusetts government, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh and Commissioner of the Department of Children & Families Linda Spears, as defendants.
Religious Freedom in Question
The lawsuit contends that the state’s denial of the Burkes’ foster application directly infringes upon their religious freedoms.
Support the Integrity of a Child’s Racial, Ethnic, Linguistic, Cultural, and Religious Background
It cites a specific regulation that applicants must “respect and make efforts to support the integrity of a child’s racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and religious background.”
Religious Beliefs Must Be Protected
However, the Burkes argue that their religious beliefs should be protected under the First Amendment, allowing them to uphold their convictions while providing a safe and loving home for foster children.
Their Religious Beliefs Should Not Be Undermined
While the Massachusetts foster care system strives to ensure that all children are treated with respect regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or disability, the Burkes argue that their religious beliefs should not be undermined in the process.
The Aims of the Lawsuit
The Burkes’ lawsuit seeks multiple outcomes. Firstly, it aims to prohibit Massachusetts from utilizing LGBTQ accommodations as grounds for denying foster licenses to religious applicants.
The lawsuit also demands that the state grants the Burkes’ foster application and awards them “nominal and compensatory damages” from the defendants.
Foster Care System Better Than a Nice Catholic Couple?
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Shows how much our government cares about children. Is the foster care system better than a nice catholic couple looking to provide love and care to a child?”
What Goes Around Comes Around
Another User wrote, “Catholic adoption centers have banned LGBTQ+ couples from adopting children… so I guess THEY’D rather see children sleeping on the floor in hallways. What goes around comes around bigots.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.