When Sager followed up with the Blaises on their application for a foster care license, the couple reiterated their faith-based stance against hormone therapy.
He asked them another series of questions, seeking their reactions to various scenarios involving their foster child: dressing as a boy, identifying as a lesbian and wanting to bring her girlfriend on a family trip or having a doctor's order for hormone therapy.
When the Blaises repeated their faith-based stance to support their child but refuse to recognize fluid sexual orientation or gender identity, Sager encouraged them to drop their application - which that made in order to care for their own great-grandchild.
At a third meeting between the Blaises, Sager, and the Department's LGBTQ+ head, the Blases answered in the same way as before.
The Department concluded they had reached an "impasse" in the process, after which the Blaises sued. The Department then denied their application for a foster care license.
The Blases then asked the court for a preliminary injunction granting them a foster care license. On Oct. 8, they won their case-in part. Judge Mendoza ruled that they couldn't be denied a license based on their religious beliefs, but as they had not completed all the steps of the application process, he wouldn't grant them a license. Instead, the Department would give them time to complete the necessary steps.
Mendoza called the Department's policy a "religious gerrymander" against members of certain creeds.
"The Department denied the Blaises the privilege and benefit of providing foster care because of their sincerely held religious beliefs," he wrote.
While the Department can take LGBTQ+ matters into account when considering prospective foster care licensees, it cannot make rulings based on hypotheticals-as it did with the Blases, Judge Mendoza wrote.
"If the only factor weighing against an otherwise qualified applicant has to do with their sincerely held religious beliefs, the Department must not discriminate against a foster care applicant based on their creed," he said.