On July 21, 2020, Christian adoption provider New Hope Family Services won an important legal victory for religious freedom at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of New Hope Family Services v. Poole.
Based in Syracuse, New York, New Hope Family Services has been in existence for over 50 years. The State of New York accused New Hope of unlawful discrimination due to its unwillingness to place children for adoption with same-sex couples and unmarried couples; based on that accusation, the state demanded that New Hope either violate its own beliefs or cease providing adoption services. In response, New Hope filed a federal lawsuit contending that the state’s action violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and that dismissal was appealed. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of New Hope, According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents New Hope, the Court of Appeals held that “the district court should not have dismissed the lawsuit because the adoption provider’s arguments demonstrate that the government’s regulation may not have been neutral and may instead have been ‘informed by hostility toward certain religious beliefs.’”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks the Lord for the Second Circuit’s decision. If a faith-based charity that receives no government funding cannot operate in accordance with its own beliefs, religious liberty no longer means anything.