Tennessee Christian Adoption Agency, sponsored by the Jewish Couple sued them for refusing to allow them to have a baby because of their faith. Two years ago Governor John G. Scott signed legislation allowing religiously-based agencies to decline families who aren’t in line with their beliefs.

  • Elizabeth Rutan Ram and Gabriel Rutan Ram say that they were refused state-mandated home-study training by Holston United Methodist Home for Children 
  • They are challenging the Governor Bill Lee law which allows religious-based agencies to refuse families with differing religious or moral beliefs.
  • Adoption agencies can refuse services under the law if they violate their written religious, moral or policy convictions. 
  • Holston, in a December lawsuit against Biden Administration admitted that he received public money for foster placement and training. 
  • According to the couple, Holston initially told them that he would foster a Florida child for them. They were thrilled to do so and have plans to adopt.
  • Bradley Williams, Holston CEO and President, has yet to respond to our requests for comment 

After a Christian-based agency refused to help them, a Tennessee couple sued. 

Elizabeth Rutan-Ram and Gabriel Rutan Ram claim they were not allowed to receive state-mandated foster parenting training or a home study certification from Holston United Methodist Home for Children, Greeneville Tennessee last year when they tried to adopt. 

Two years ago, Governor Bill Lee signed a law that permits religious-based adoption agencies the ability to reject families who don’t share their moral and/or religious beliefs. This lawsuit was the first to be filed against the state. 

If the adoption agency would violate its written religious, moral or policy convictions or policies, it can reject them. 

In December 2012, Biden sued the agency for new regulations to prohibit discrimination in government-funded health and human service programs based upon religion, sex or gender identity.  

Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram, a Tennessee couple, allege in a lawsuit that a Christian adoption agency rejected their request for services to help them become foster parents because they are Jewish

Elizabeth Rutan Ram and Gabriel Rutan Ram are a Tennessee couple who claim that an agency of Christian adoption rejected them for foster parent services because they were Jewish.

Holston United Methodist Home for Children admitted in a lawsuit against the Biden administration that it receives government money to help provide services to aspiring foster parents

In a suit against the Biden government, Holston United Methodist Home for Children acknowledged that it gets federal money for services for aspiring foster parents

The lawsuit is the first to challenge legislation that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (pictured) signed into law two years ago that allowed adoption agencies to reject services to those who don't align with their religious or moral beliefs

Two years ago, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed legislation that would have allowed adoption agencies to refuse services to people who didn’t share their moral or religious beliefs.

The defendants admitted receiving federal money to foster care training.   

Rutan-Rams, who realized they couldn’t have biological children of themselves, called rejection “a punch in their gut.” 

“It was my first experience of discrimination because I’m Jewish.” Elizabeth Rutan Ram described it as shocking. It was extremely hurtful to hear that an agency believed that a child in state custody would be more beneficial than a family with loving children like ours. 

Holston told the couple that they had initially offered to help with Florida adoptions. However, they found out they wanted to foster children and were eager to continue to work with them. 

According to the lawsuit they were informed that Holston was only open to families with the same belief as them on the day they were to start training. 

Bradley Williams is the President and CEO of Holston United Methodist Home for Children, which says it is 'guided by principles that have been passed down throughout the history of this ministry'

Bradley Williams is President and CEO, Holston United Methodist Home for Children. The organization states that it’s ‘guided through principles that have been handed down throughout this ministry’

The Rutan-Rams have since become foster parents but have plans to adopt in the future. Elizabeth Rutan-Ram said this was the first time she'd ever felt discriminated against for being Jewish

They have been foster parents since then and plan to adopt the children. Elizabeth Rutan Ram stated that it was the first time in her life she felt discriminated against as a Jew.

The Rutan Rams adopted the teenage girl and she plans to become an adoptive parent. 

Bradley Williams is Holston’s President and Chief Executive Officer. He hasn’t responded to any requests for comment.   

Alex J. Luchenitser was the associate vice president at Americans United and also associate legal director. He made a statement for Rutan Ram family.   

He stated that “The Tennessee Constitution is similar to the U.S. Constitution” and promised religious freedom for all. “Tennessee has broken that promise, allowing a taxpayer funded agency to discriminate against Liz Rutan-Ram and Gabe Rutan Ram because they are Jews.” 

Luchenitser also stated that Rutan Ram plans to adopt beyond the current foster child. 

Rev. Elaine Blanchard (pictured), a minister with the Disciples of Christ Church, has joined the Rutan-Rams in their lawsuit

Rev. Rev.

Dr. Larry Blanz (pictured), a psychologist who claims 40 years of experience with foster parents and children, is also a part of the suit

Part of the suit is Dr. Larry Blanz (pictured), who has 40 years of experience in working with foster parents.

The Rev. Jeannie Alexander, Disciples of Christ minister Rev. Jeannie Alexander is a Disciples of Christ minister Rev. Elaine Blanchard, Chirstian minister Rev. Alaina Cohen, Unitarian Rev. Denise Gyauch has joined the Rutan Rams in this suit.

Also signed on is Dr. Larry Blanz, a retired psychologist with experience working with foster parents and children and Mirabelle Steodter, treaurer for the Tennessee   chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.    

The Tennessee Department of Child Services spokesperson and Tennessee Attorney General offices declined to comment about pending litigation.