Court briefs pour in supporting mother blocked from adoption

Court briefs pour in supporting mother blocked from adoption

Court briefs pour in supporting mother blocked from adoption

A mother black-listed by the State of Oregon for her religious beliefs about sexual orientation and made-up genders is getting overwhelming support for her case but the courts have yet to side with her First Amendment argument.

A broad coalition of foster parents, adoptive parents, religious liberty groups, and free speech advocates have filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in support of Jessica Bates. Bates is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom in her challenge to the Oregon Department of Human Services that has blocked her from participating in the foster care system.

Why? Because a state rule requires her to “respect, accept, and support” the sexual orientation, gender identify, and gender expression of a child in her care.

ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of Bates in April 2023 but a judge ruled against her in a decision last November. The case is known as Bates v. Pakseresht

ADF attorney Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse says Bates, a Christian widower and mother of five, believes God wants her to open her home to more children.

“But when she applied to become certified through Oregon's Department of Human Services, she learned that she had to agree to violate her beliefs about human sexuality just to receive her license," the ADF attorney says. "The Department of Human Services told her that she had to agree to use a child's preferred pronouns and she even had to agree to take a child for procedures, like cross-sex hormone shots and things of that nature…”

Widmalm-Delphonse, Johannes (ADF) Widmalm-Delphonse

When Bates informed the state she could not agree with that policy, citing her Christian beliefs, she was blocked from adopting any children in the state’s care.

The friend-of-the-court briefs are now pouring in after Bates filed an appeal with the 9th circuit earlier this month asking to obtain her state certification while her lawsuit against the state continues.

In one brief, filed jointly by 20 U.S. states, the attorneys general warn “it is not difficult to see” Oregon’s unconstitutional policy spreading to other states which will also “ostracize people of faith.”