By Hudson Crozier
In a nutshell: Jessica Bates, a Christian mother of five, is suing Oregon state officials for allegedly barring her from adopting children due to her traditional beliefs about gender and sexuality, violating her First and 14th Amendment rights. At the center of the case is an Oregon state law that requires a person to “Respect, accept and support the … sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” of a child to receive approval for adoption.
The alleged discrimination: Officials told Bates that she would have to accept any form of “self-expression” a child chooses regarding their gender or sexuality, even allowing them to receive cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers if they identify as transgender, she alleges. Some of the state’s suggestions for LGBT-friendly parenting include taking a child to a Pride parade and not “forcing youth to attend” certain “religious activities” that are “unsupportive” of LGBT lifestyles, according to the lawsuit. The state allegedly denied Bates’s application for adoption specifically because she stated that she would instead raise her child according to her religious values.
Why it matters: As America has shifted left on LGBT issues in recent years, it is becoming a mainstream view that anyone who won’t affirm a child’s LGBT identity is unworthy to be a parent. In fact, officials across the country are increasingly stripping custody from parents who refuse to allow doctors to chemically or surgically alter their child’s body as a treatment for gender dysphoria. These trends were once unthinkable in a country that, for decades, hotly debated whether it is even appropriate for same-sex couples to adopt.
- Diving deeper: This is part of a new progressive effort to champion children’s rights—the opposite of the conservative-led movement to protect parents’ rights. The Associated Press has framed this movement as protection of trans minors “from parents.”
But there is pushback: Backed by a powerful conservative legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, Bates has now brought this key parental rights issue to federal court. Officials in some states have also declared it child abuse for a parent to have their child transitioned.