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Christian foster parentsLifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — A pair of Christian foster couples is suing the Vermont Department for Children & Families (DCF) for allegedly blocking them from taking on additional foster children due to their Christian views on gender and sexuality.

The Daily Signal reports, based on interviews with both families as well as the lawsuit itself, that Brian and Kaitlyn Wuoti and Michael and Rebecca Gantt began fostering in 2014 and 2016, respectively, with the Wuotis adopting two brothers and the Gantts taking in three children. Brian Wuoti and Michael Gantt are both Christian pastors, as well.

Seeking to renew their license in 2022, the Wuotis were initially hailed by a caseworker who said she “probably could not hand pick a more wonderful foster family,” but mention of their Christian faith and “that they could not say or do anything that went against faith-informed views about human sexuality” prompted their license to be revoked, according to the lawsuit.

The Gantts, meanwhile, were asked to take in a baby who was about to be born to a homeless drug addict, but before the emergency placement was settled they received a notice that foster parents had to adhere to the state’s ideas on gender ideology “even if the foster parents hold divergent personal opinions or beliefs.” Responding that they would “unconditionally love and support any children placed with them, but they would not forsake their religious beliefs that people should value their God-given bodies,” the Gantts were met with rejection of the emergency placement and revocation of their license.

According to state licensing rules, “all foster parents are prohibited from engaging in any form” of so-called “discrimination” against foster children based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” They must specifically “support children in wearing” any clothing affirming a presumed racial, cultural, tribal, or religious identity or “gender identity.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Windham Division, accuses DCF of forcing an “ideological position at the expense of children,” despite state officials’ own acknowledgment of a “desperate need for emergency foster homes.” As of last May, Vermont was estimated to have 1,060 children in state custody but only 900 licensed foster families.

“It requires parents to speak the State’s controversial views, while restricting parents’ ability to politely share their commonsense beliefs to any child in any context – categorically excluding disfavored viewpoints from the foster-parent pool entirely,” the suit contends. “Vermont’s regulations also target particular religious views for unequal treatment through an exemption-riddled system of individualized assessments.”

“We were surprised, because they are typically always trying to match children with families as best they can, and so we assumed maybe they would say, ‘Ok, maybe we won’t place an LGBT[-identifying] child with this family,’” Brian Wuoti told the Signal.

“We were offered to be reeducated and given the choice that they could either revoke our foster license or we could take some education materials, and they could give us up to a year to change our faith,” Michael Gantt said. “And I said, ‘No, we are not going to change our faith in the next year; absolutely not.’”

A substantial amount of social science literature supports the truth that children are properly served by homes with both a mother and a father, as each sex tends to bring unique strengths and emphases to parenting, which complement one another; and gives children a positive role model of their own sex as well as helping them understand and relate to the opposite sex. By contrast, a homosexual male “couple” would by definition lack a mother, and lesbians would be unable to provide a father.

Similarly, a significant body of evidence finds that “affirming” gender confusion carries serious harms, especially when done with impressionable children who lack the mental development, emotional maturity, and life experience to consider the long-term ramifications of the decisions being pushed on them. Studies find that more than 80% of children suffering gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, whereas reinforcing dysphoria fails to resolve and even exacerbates mental strife by perpetuating delusion and neglecting the actual root causes.

Yet in states such as Vermont, Washington, and Arizona, officials have enacted rules that threaten to put religious agencies out of business if they do not fully embrace pro-LGBT dictates despite not only the potential harm to children but shortages in available foster homes. Nationally, the Biden administration has proposed requiring adoption and foster agencies to ensure that children who “identify” as LGBT are placed in homes that “facilitate the child’s access to age-appropriate resources, services, and activities that support” LGBT activists’ conception of “health and well-being.”