"Based on that belief, St. Vincent has exercised its discretion to ensure that it is not in the position of having to review and recommend to the State whether to certify a same-sex or unmarried couple, and to refer those cases to agencies that do not have a religious confession preventing an honest evaluation and recommendation."
Jonker called Attorney General Nessel's efforts to force St. Vincent to certify same-sex couples a "targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief."
"Leading up to and during the 2018 general election campaign, she made it clear that she considered beliefs like St. Vincent's to be the product of hate," Jonker wrote.
Becket, the law firm representing the adoption agency and several other plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling a "major victory."
"Our nation is facing a foster care crisis, and we are so glad that Michigan's foster children will continue having all hands on deck to help them find loving forever homes," Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, said in a Friday statement.
After oral arguments in the case, Melissa Buck, an adoptive mom and one of the plaintiffs in the current case, shared her personal story of working with St. Vincent to adopt five children with special needs.
"It's the best and the hardest thing we've ever done, and there were challenges that we weren't equipped to face on our own-but we were never alone. St. Vincent was there for us every step of the way, at all hours of the day or night, for anything we needed, even if it was for just a shoulder to cry on," Buck said.
"We chose to foster and adopt through St. Vincent because the faith and values that motivate their ministry make them the very best at what they do, particularly finding homes for the children who need it most."
Laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or barring state funding from adoption agencies considered discriminatory have shut down Catholic adoption agencies in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and Illinois, among others.