LANSING, MI (AP)-- A legislative committee could vote this week to let faith-based agencies in Michigan refuse to participate in adoptions that violate their beliefs, despite accusations that the legislation would permit discrimination.
Advocates say the bills would codify existing practice into law and preemptively protect adoption agencies from repercussions if Michigan legalizes gay marriage or civil unions.
In 2011, Illinois ended long-standing contracts with Catholic Charities to provide foster care and adoptions because of the group's practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies.
Critics say faith-based agencies receiving state funding for child placements shouldn't be allowed to discriminate.
It's the latest dispute over "conscience" legislation in the Republican-led Legislature. A separate bill involving objections to contraception and medical procedures is pending in the state Senate.