By: Kate Anderson, Daily Caller News Foundation
A Catholic couple is suing Massachusetts state officials after allegedly being told they were unable to foster children due to their religious beliefs about marriage and sexuality, according to court documents.
Mike and Catherine “Kitty” Burke went through the process to get certified to begin fostering children in 2022, but were reportedly deemed unfit by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) after a series of home visits, according to court documents. The couple filed a lawsuit Tuesday with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, arguing that the state was deliberately discriminating against them because of their faith.
“After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” the Burkes said in a press release. “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 Burkes had several home visits, but found that most of the questions pertained to their beliefs on gender, sexuality and marriage, according to the lawsuit. The couple said that a child who identifies as LGBTQ would not receive less love from them, but Kitty added that she felt that they should live a “chaste life” and Mike explained that he would like to have conversations with the child about it.
The Burkes also said that they believed marriage was between a man and a woman and that sexual relations are to remain within those boundaries, according to the lawsuit. They also explained that they would not be supportive of sex change medical procedures.
After the visits, the Burke’s application was sent to the DCF’s Licensing Review Team, who concluded that, while the couple displayed many strengths, they should not be approved due to concerns “based on the couple’s statements/responses regarding placement of children who identified LGBTQIA,” according to the lawsuit.
The department does not have enough families available to place the children in its foster system, and has resorted to holding them in hospitals, according to the Boston Globe.
“It takes the heroic effort of parents like Mike and Kitty to provide vulnerable children with loving homes through foster care,” Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, said in the press release. “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 Massachusetts Executive Office for the Department of Health and Human Services and DCF Commissioner’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.