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Oregon blocks mom from adopting children because of her faith

ADF attorneys available for media interviews following oral arguments Tuesday

Monday, Jul 8, 2024

WHO:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT:  Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Bates v. Pakseresht

WHEN:  Immediately following oral arguments, which begin at 9 a.m. PDT, Tuesday, July 9

WHERE:  U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 7th floor, Courtroom 2, 1010 Fifth Ave., Seattle; or view the livestream. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hattie Troutman at (771) 200-7630.

SEATTLE – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing an Oregon mother of five who wishes to adopt siblings from foster care will be available for media interviews following oral arguments Tuesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Bates v. Pakseresht.

Jessica Bates is challenging an Oregon Department of Human Services rule that categorically excludes her from adopting any child—no matter their age or beliefs—because she would not violate her religious beliefs to promote Oregon’s radical gender ideology. Bates is asking the 9th Circuit to allow her to obtain her certification, free of discrimination, while her lawsuit continues so that she can eventually provide a loving home to children in need.

“Jessica is a loving mother who wants to open her home to children in need right now, but Oregon officials are excluding her and countless other families because of their religious beliefs about sexual ethics and the human body,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Bates. “Because these caregivers cannot promote Oregon’s dangerous gender ideology to young kids, the state considers them to be unfit parents. That’s false and harmful, needlessly depriving these kids of opportunities to find a loving home. We are urging the 9th Circuit to remind Oregon that the foster and adoption system is supposed to serve the best interests of children, not the state’s ideological crusade.”

Bates applied to become certified to adopt children from foster care two years ago. Oregon’s DHS, the agency responsible for overseeing the state’s child welfare programs, denied her application because she would not agree to say and do things that conflict with her faith, like lying to children and telling them that girls can be boys and vice versa.

Although Bates told ODHS officials that she would happily love and accept any child placed with her, officials rejected her application, making her ineligible to adopt any child—even infants or children who share her religious beliefs.

In January, a broad coalition of foster and adoptive parents, religious liberty groups, free speech and family advocates, 20 states, and detransitioners filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the 9th Circuit in support of Bates. The briefs join ADF in arguing that ODHS’s policy needlessly penalizes Bates and many other people of faith for their religious views, compels parents to speak words that violate their conscience, and deprives children in need of the opportunity to find loving homes.

Rebekah Schultheiss, one of more than 4,500 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, is serving as local counsel on behalf of Bates.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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