Christian Foster Parents Sue Vermont for Revoking Licenses Over Gender Ideology

A complaint filed on Tuesday claims that a number of Christian families were expelled from Vermont’s foster care system due to their beliefs regarding gender and sexuality.

In their case, Michael and Rebecca Gantt, as well as Brian and Kaitlyn Wuoti, claimed that their foster care licenses had been revoked by the Vermont Department for Children and Families due to their Christian faith. The Daily Signal was the first to report on the lawsuit, which was filed in the District of Vermont Windham Division of the U.S. District Court.

“Vermont’s foster-care system faces a crisis,” the lawsuit states. “But, with this emergent need, the Department recently decided to exclude all families with traditional religious beliefs about human sexuality from fostering or adopting any child. This ideological campaign puts politics above people and gender ideology over children’s best interests. It is harmful, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.”

The First Amendment rights of the families to free expression, free association, and the exercise of their religion, as well as their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal treatment, are allegedly violated by Vermont, according to the lawsuit. It seeks the declaration of unconstitutionality of the state’s sexual orientation and gender identity guidelines.

“Although the Wuotis and Gantts have adopted five children between them, the Department has determined they are unfit to foster or adopt any child solely due to their religiously inspired and widely held belief that girls cannot become boys or vice versa,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, the government informed the families that they had to follow the state’s stance on gender issues “even if the foster parents hold divergent personal opinions or beliefs.” The state questioned them about using pronouns that did not correspond with the sex of a child or about taking a child to a Pride parade. No, and their licenses had not been renewed, both families replied.

Caseworkers had previously had positive experiences working with the family, according to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, one caseworker described the Wuotis as “AMAZING” and claimed she “probably could not hand pick a more wonderful foster family” in 2022.

“We were surprised, because they are typically always trying to match children with families as best they can, and so we assumed maybe they would say, ‘Ok, maybe we won’t place an LGBT child with this family,’” Brian Wuoti said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

The conflict in Vermont arose in response to a foster care placement rule proposed by the Biden administration, which opponents claim would violate religious liberty and force foster parents to adopt gender ideologies. Republicans in Congress and state attorneys general have contested the rule.