March 10, 2021 Feature

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Religious Exemption Laws for Discriminatory Private Agencies Violate the Constitution and Harm LGBTQ+ Families

Kharis Lund

Introduction

Kristy and Dana Dumont, who have been together for over a decade, seemed to be the “ideal” prospective parents.1 They had been preparing for the last several years to welcome children into their home, moving to an idyllic neighborhood in the suburbs with a spacious yard and no shortage of nature trails nearby.2 They had also made sure that there was a good school district and that their new house was ready for their future children.3 Despite all of their preparation and enthusiasm, however, they were denied by two tax-funded child-placing agencies in their area.4 The reason for the denial? Their sexual orientation. The fact that they were a same-sex couple meant that they did not meet the religious criteria that the agencies applied.5

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