Press Release

Faithful Catholics ask court for freedom to adopt children in need In midst of foster care crisis, Massachusetts seeks to deny religious couple’s ability to foster and adopt children

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Photo of Kitty and Mike Burke with text "Some Catholic Couples Can't Foster in Massachusetts - Here's why"

WASHINGTON – A Catholic couple in Massachusetts was in court today challenging the state’s decision to ban loving couples from welcoming children into their home. In Burke v. Walsh, Mike and Kitty Burke wanted to foster and someday adopt children in need of a family. Even though Massachusetts has a foster care crisis, state officials refused to let the Burkes foster any children in the state because of their religious beliefs about marriage and sexuality. With the help of Becket, the Burkes are asking the court to ensure that qualified families are not punished for their religious beliefs and that vulnerable children are given a loving home. 

Mike and Kitty Burke are a Catholic couple from Massachusetts who have long wanted to become parents. Mike is an Iraq war veteran, and Kitty is a former paraprofessional for special needs kids. Together they run a business and perform music for Mass. Mike and Kitty began exploring becoming foster parents through the state’s foster care program, hoping to care for and eventually adopt children in need of a stable, loving home like theirs. 

“Our state’s children deserve better than to be put in hospitals and office buildings rather than in safe, loving homes,” said Mike and Kitty Burke. “We pray the court stops Massachusetts’ campaign against vulnerable children and the many religious couples like us who wish to care for them.”  

Children in foster care throughout Massachusetts are waiting for families like the Burkes. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) currently does not have enough foster homes or facilities to meet the needs of the children in its care, leaving some children without a family. The crisis has become so extreme that the state has resorted to housing children in hospitals for weeks on end. Now more than ever, Massachusetts needs the help of parents like Mike and Kitty to foster children in need. During their application process, the Burkes underwent hours of training, extensive interviews, and an examination of their home. Mike and Kitty completed the training successfully and received high marks from the instructors. However, because Mike and Kitty said they would continue to hold to their religious beliefs about gender and human sexuality, they were denied the ability to foster.   

“Massachusetts should be doing everything it can to alleviate its foster care crisis, but instead it’s excluding loving couples from helping children in need,” said Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. “We asked the court to stop the state from targeting couples like Mike and Kitty and protect the thousands of vulnerable children who desperately need homes.” 

A decision is expected later this spring.  

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby atmedia@becketlaw.orgor 202-349-7219.