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Couple sues state after rejection from foster program due to faith

Broken heart

GAS-Photo | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 08/11/23

Mike and Kitty Burke were rejected based on their beliefs on gender and sexuality at a time of crisis in the Massachusetts foster system.

A Massachusetts couple who sought to become foster parents is taking the state to court after being rejected due to their views on marriage, sexuality, and gender. The Becket law firm is championing the couple, Mike and Kitty Burke, who are challenging their rejection from the foster care program on grounds of religious liberty. 

According to Becket, the Burkes were banned from being foster parents at a time when Massachusetts is in a foster care crisis. There are currently so many children in the foster care system that some of these kids have to sleep on cots in the halls of the local hospital. The Burkes wanted to help alleviate some of this strain on the state by opening their home to children in need. 

After months of training and screenings, however, the Burkes were finally rejected from the program when they answered honestly about their Catholic beliefs on gender dysphoria and sexual orientation. It should be noted that the Burkes agreed to “love and accept any child, no matter the child’s future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity.” The couple said in an interview with Becket:

“After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” said Mike and Kitty Burke. “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.” 

The report notes that their home was deemed adequate for children and the couple received high marks in all other areas as prospective foster parents. In the end even accepting the child’s identity was not enough to make up for holding on to their own beliefs. Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket commented: 

“It takes the heroic effort of parents like Mike and Kitty to provide vulnerable children with loving homes through foster care. 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?”

The case has only just been filed and an official date for the hearing has yet to be set. Read more about the case at Becket Law.

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