A Catholic couple is suing Massachusetts for preventing them from taking part in the state's foster care system.
The religious liberties group, Becket Law, says state officials refused to let Mike and Kitty Burke foster any children in the state because of their religious beliefs about marriage, sexuality and gender.
According to the non-profit law firm, the Burkes are the ideal foster family.
During their adoption application process, they underwent hours of training, extensive interviews and a home examination. The couple completed the training successfully and even received high scores from instructors.
However, during a home study, the Burkes were constantly questioned about their Catholic views on sexual orientation and gender dysphoria.
The Burkes said they would adhere to their religious beliefs and love and accept any child, no matter the child's future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity.
But the Commonwealth was not satisfied with that response.
The couple's home study said, "Their faith is not supportive," with DCF officials adding that while they had strengths, their answers about sexuality and gender barred them from being licensed.
Franklin Graham made this comment on Facebook about the situation:
"This couple in Massachusetts was denied the chance to be foster parents because of their Biblical beliefs about marriage, sexuality and gender. What a shame, especially when you have children in the state of Massachusetts being housed in hospitals for weeks at a time because there aren't enough foster families!
"... Let's pray that Mike and Kitty will win their case in court, and open the door for many other Christian couples to serve as foster parents in Massachusetts".
"After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents," said Mike and Kitty Burke. "We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home."
"This denial was as unnecessary as it was unconstitutional. Massachusetts law protects the religious liberty of foster parents. And Massachusetts is supposed to put the best interests of children first," reads a statement from Becket.
Becket says the Department of Children and Families (DCF) does not have enough foster homes or facilities to meet the needs of kids in its care. Right now there are about 1,500 children in Massachusetts in need of a home.
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