A federal district court issued an order last week (September 7, 2021) permanently preventing the State of New York from shutting down New Hope Family Services in Syracuse. Attorney Mark Lippelmann of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing New Hope, says the adoption provider was being targeted for its religious beliefs.
"Several years ago, the state tried to shut them down because they had a religious conviction of placing kids in homes with a married mother and father and referring everyone else to adoption providers for any other cases," he explains.
The court issued a temporary order in October 2020 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of New Hope and sent the case back to the district court. Lippelmann admits he's not sure what the state is going to do.
"We surely hope the signal the court sent was clear that this is a violation of New Hope's liberties – and even if they were to appeal, it would go to the Second Circuit which already looked at this case and said the constitution protects New Hope's right to exercise its religious liberty in this way.
"So, we hope the state won't appeal," the attorney concludes. "If they do, they would [have to] do so within 90 days – but we're hoping the state would recognize and respect religious liberty."
Since it began offering adoption services in 1965, New Hope has placed more than 1,000 children with adoptive families.
The case is known as New Hope Family Services v. Poole. The Poole in the case is Sheila J. Poole, acting commissioner for the Office of Children and Family Services for the State of New York.