OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 2:49 PM – Wednesday, April 5, 2023
A mother of five from Oregon alleges that her gender-related religious convictions prevented her from adopting two siblings in her state, and she is now suing to defend her First Amendment rights.
Jessica Bates said on Wednesday that the difficulty started after she had been in the adoption process for a few months and had successfully finished some of the training.
“I reported to my certifier because they really emphasized the sexual orientation and gender identity training, that you have to support it… I emailed her and told her I couldn’t do that because of my faith, and then we had a phone call and, because I wouldn’t take a child for cross-sex hormone injections, I was basically told that I’m ineligible to adopt in the state of Oregon,” said Bates.
The adoption application for Oregon states that prospective parents must “respect, accept and support the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of children.
The state’s actions, according to Christina Kiefer, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, are just another instance of placing “ideology and politics over children.”
“It [the state] says that it welcomes people from all cultural and religious backgrounds to adopt unless they disagree with the state’s gender ideology… Barring Jessica and other parents from adopting just because of their religious convictions clearly violates the First Amendment. It’s wrong, and it hurts children who need a forever home,” Kiefer said.
In the lawsuit filed on Monday, it claimed that Bates’ training at the Resource and Adoptive Family (RAFT) program in Oregon encouraged prospective parents to “use a child’s preferred pronouns, take a child to affirming events like Gay Pride parades, or sign the child up for risky pharmaceutical interventions like puberty blockers and hormone shots.”
The letter also revealed that Bates was originally motivated to adopt after listening to a Christian radio broadcast show talking about a father who had adopted kids.
Despite being a single widow who was already looking after five other children, she believed that it was her Christian responsibility to help other young people in need.
On Wednesday, Bates explained that her adoption request had been formally denied two months after she had gotten a phone call informing her that it had been put on hold, since she did not agree with the state’s gender ideology.
“I don’t know how many children there are out there under the age of 9 who fall into this category (and to me it’s kind of crazy that society is wanting to get kids thinking about this stuff at such young ages, I think we should let them keep their innocence), so this may not even be an issue,” Bates wrote.
“I have no problem loving them and accepting them as they are, but I would not encourage them in this behavior. I believe God gives us our gender/sex, and it’s not something we get to choose,” she added.
Kiefer was hopeful that the state would finally address the problem and change their minds by permitting Bates to move forward with the adoption.
Bates echoed her hope and said she wishes that the discriminatory policy could be altered to permit others facing comparable adoption obstacles.