Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has stressed the importance of adopted children being raised in faith-based, mother-father homes, as the country debates whether religious adoption agencies that work with the government can be allowed to not refer children to same-sex couples.
At a Wednesday event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Governor Bevin talked about why he believed it was wrong for governments to compel faith-based adoptions to go against their religious objections to homosexuality.
During his remarks, Bevin spoke about how "every kid wants a father and a mother" and that the "best chance" for a child to succeed is "to be raised in a home with a mother and father who are together the entire time of that child's upbringing."
"Every statistic that has ever been done, every study, every analysis that has ever been done, affirms that same thinking. Every one of them. Not one has ever shown the opposite," said Bevin.
"Statistically a child who grows up in that environment has a much better likelihood of turning out as we in society would want them to turn out."
Bevin labeled the idea of government programs that work with faith-based adoption agencies centered on sending children to mother-father homes "absurd" and rejected the idea that agencies exclusively wanting to send kids to a traditional home was somehow "detrimental."
Bevin also noted the importance of a faith-based upbringing, calling it a "part of a constructive upbringing." During the Q&A session at the event, Bevin discussed the three-legged stool model of needs for a person. The three legs being first, the physical needs, second, the intellectual needs, and third, the spiritual needs.
"It's easy to forget the third. In a society where we are so blessed, we can afford to balance on a two-legged stool," explained Bevin.
"But ultimately when stuff happens in life ... you fall hard over on a leg that may or may not be there. Because the physical and the intellectual don't provide any comfort, they don't provide any answers. And that's when you realize that indeed that third leg matters."
In recent years, some states have enacted laws that require all adoption agencies to refer children to same-sex households, even if this contradicts their faith-based moral objections, which has compelled some adoption agencies to stop providing services in those states.
For example, in 2011 three Catholic dioceses in Illinois ended their partnership with the state in response to a civil unions law passed earlier that year mandating that same-sex couples be included in their program.
In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Michigan over the state's law allowing adoption agencies to refuse to place children in the homes of same-sex couples.
"Decisions about adoption and foster family placements should be made based on the needs of the child, not the religious beliefs of the agency," stated ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan last September.
"Allowing agencies to turn away loving, qualified families based on religious criteria creates fewer families for children, reducing their chances of being placed in a suitable family, or any family at all."
In March, the city of Philadelphia announced that they were halting their programs with Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services over the two groups' refusal to allow same-sex couple adoptions.
For its part, Heritage has held multiple events this year stressing the need to not force faith-based adoption agencies to violate their religious conscience.
In April, Heritage hosted an event where Chuck Johnson, president of the nonpartisan National Council for Adoption who favors same-sex couples adopting children, warned that laws like Illinois' were harmful.
"To eliminate faith-based agencies from the field of service over ideology, to take away their licenses, which is happening in states, to prevent them from entering into contracts to provide these services for public entities ..., it is going to end up with seeing fewer resources for children in foster care and children will go unadopted," stated Johnson.