Families Sue Vermont After State Blocks Them From Fostering Children Because of Their Opposition to Gender Transitions 

Under Vermont’s current policy, the state can determine an applicant unfit to foster or adopt a child solely because of their religious views.

Alliance Defending Freedom
Katy Wuoti with one of her children. Alliance Defending Freedom

A group of foster parents is suing Vermont’s Department for Children and Families for blocking them from fostering children, despite a dire need in the state, after they expressed their religious opposition to child gender transitions. 

The suit, Wuoti v. Winters, was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom in the U.S. District Court at Vermont on Tuesday. It centers on the two couples — Pastor Brian Wuoti and his wife Katy, and Pastor Bryan Gantt and his wife Rebecca — who have adopted five children between them, including children with special needs, in the last ten years. 

The couples have shown a “well-established ability to care for hurting children,” the suit says, and were described by social workers as “amazing” and “the perfect home,” according to the suit. Yet, the suit asserts, “Vermont would prefer children have no home than to place them with families of faith with these views.”

“In Vermont, there are not enough homes willing and able to care for children in need, and they regularly send out emails about the state’s ‘desperate’ situation,” a lawyer for the ADF, Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, says. “Our clients, inspired by their faith, answered Vermont’s call and were model foster parents for years, adopting five children from foster care between them. None of their service mattered, however, when Vermont placed its ideological agenda above the needs of the children in foster care.”

The Wuotis lost their foster-care license in 2022 after they expressed that they could not encourage a child to “transition.” The Gantts lost their license in 2023 after they expressed concerns about the department’s policy requiring them to use certain gender pronouns and other similar measures. 

Under Vermont’s current policy, the Department can determine an applicant unfit to foster or adopt a child solely due to their religious views.

That policy, the suit asserts, unfairly targets a particular religion by targeting those who believe girls cannot become boys and vice versa. Requiring parents to echo the “controversial” views of the state and “categorically excluding disfavored viewpoints from the foster-parent pool entirely” allegedly violates the First Amendment, the suit charges.

“Vermont’s foster-care system is in crisis,” the legal counsel at ADF, Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, said in a statement. “Yet Vermont is putting its ideological agenda ahead of the needs of these suffering kids.” The ADF did not immediately respond to the Sun’s request for comment on the matter. 

The New York Sun

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