U.S. District Court Judge Mae D'Agostino, an Obama appointee, told the New York Office of Children and Family Services that it could not shut down a Christian adoption agency simply due to the agency's policy of only placing children with heterosexual couples.
D'Agostino issued the preliminary injunction against the state's enforcement of its policy on Monday, saying the state's behavior "demonstrates some animosity towards particular religious beliefs."
"While not all of the evidence discussed weighs in favor of a finding of hostility when viewed individually, the totality of the evidence indicates that section 421.3(d), as promulgated and enforced by OCFS, is not neutral and appears to be based on some hostility towards New Hope's religious beliefs," D'Agostino wrote.
New Hope is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which produced a short video documenting the dispute:
The case landed in D'Agostino's courtroom after a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the adoption agency in July, sending the case back down to the district level for clarification.
The 2nd Circuit Court had found that the state was attempting to force a religious group to submit to "the state's orthodoxy" on matters of sexuality in order to stay in business, which was an impermissible objective.
D'Agostino's agreement means that New Hope can continue its work as its lawsuit against the state remains ongoing.