President Donald Trump spoke at the the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday where he promised to protect America's "long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption."
During his remarks at the annual event, the president referenced the adoption experience of a Michigan couple.
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"Here with us this morning are Melissa and Chuck Buck from Holt, Michigan. In 2009 they decided to adopt. Soon they got a call about three young siblings in a terribly abusive home. Melissa and Chad had only a few minutes to decide, and they said yes to all three. Today, the Bucks have five beautiful, adopted children," Trump said.
"Unfortunately, the Michigan adoption charity that brought the Buck family together is now defending itself in court for living by the values of its Catholic faith. We will always protect our country's long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption," Trump continued, drawing applause from the crowd.
"My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply-held beliefs," Trump added.
In September 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the State of Michigan to stop the state from partnering with faith-based adoption agencies such as St. Vincent Catholic Charities, the agency that brought the Buck family together.
The lawsuit centered on faith-based agencies' beliefs about marriage. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is acting as counsel for the adoption agencies, notes that "St. Vincent’s beliefs have never prevented a child from being placed in a loving home" and "gay couples working with other agencies have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care in the past."
Last month, the Trump administration moved to protect faith-based adoption agencies by granting a religious exemption to South Carolina agencies subject to an Obama-era regulation that required recipients of federal assistance to abandon "discriminatory" standards in placement. South Carolina had asked for the exemption to protect one of its largest foster care agencies, Miracle Hills Ministries, which only places children in Christian households.