US couple sue state after adoption agency refused service over religious concerns

US couple sue state after adoption agency refused service over religious concerns


A Tennessee couple is suing the state children’s services after being denied foster care by a state-funded program for religious reasons. When Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram were about to start the foster parent training course in Holston, “a staff member emailed Mrs. Rutan-Ram to say that Holston would not be serving the Rutan-Rams because of the couple’s Jewish faith.”

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A Tennessee couple is suing the state children’s services after being denied foster care by a state-funded program for religious reasons. When Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram were about to start the foster parent training course in Holston, “a staff member emailed Mrs. Rutan-Ram to say that Holston would not be serving the Rutan-Rams because of the couple’s Jewish faith.”

According to a report by The Guardian, the staffer wrote, “As a Christian organization, our leadership team made the decision a few years ago to only offer adoption services to potential adoptive families who share our belief system, to avoid conflict or delay with future service delivery.”

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The lawsuit alleges that state agencies denying services to people on religious grounds violates the Tennessee Constitution.

The lawsuit states, “After Holston refused to serve them, the Rutan-Rams continued to search for an agency that would provide the services they needed to adopt the child in Florida for whom they will give a loving home.” and wanted to give a loving family. But they were unable to find another agency in the Knox County area willing to provide them with the services Tennessee needed to be eligible to adopt an out-of-state child.

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services declined to comment on the matter.

Gabriel Rutan-Ram criticized the organization in a statement. “It’s annoying to learn that our tax dollars are funding discrimination against us,” he said.

(With contributions from agencies)

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