The Burkes wanted to start a family.
But for years, the couple from Southhampton, Mass., struggled with infertility. Mike, an Iraq war veteran and Catherine, “Kitty”, who runs a small business with her husband, tried private adoption.
As it became too expensive, the Burkes both in their late 30s turned to foster care, a willingness to open their home to abused and abandoned children in desperate need of love and stability.
Outrageously, their application was denied – and their story offers a frightening peek into how gender activism has infiltrated our government instutitions.
In January, 2022, they applied through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). By June of that year, they were in the midst of the grueling process, which involves about 30 hours of interviews, home visits and various training sessions.
In March 2023, they were encouraged by one case worker who told them, they were “one step closer.” But later that month their application was essentially stamped with a giant red, “Nope.”
When they requested a hearing and gained access to their files, they were shocked to learn the motive for their rejection, explicitly laid out in the state workers’ own words.
The authors of the file called them “lovely people” but said they wouldn’t be “affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.”
It mentioned their devout Catholic faith, involvement in local churches as musicians and decided, “Their faith is not supportive and neither are they.”
The Burkes have filed a federal lawsuit against several DCF officials, claiming the state agency blocked them from fostering children because of their religious beliefs on gender and sexuality.
“Massachusetts’ candor is very commendable. And it demonstrates how it’s also unconstitutional,” William Haun, the couple’s attorney told The Post.
“The Supreme Court has been very clear that it is, to use their language, ‘odious to our Constitution’ to say, because of your religious beliefs you can’t participate in these programs. Public life is closed to you.”
While a gross bigotry against Catholics, DCF’s decision is also at odds with common sense and mainstream views — ones that could be held by parents who are of plenty of affiliations: Protestants Jews, Muslims. And more tellingly, by atheists or agnostics too.
The Burkes are not some crazed cultish Westboro Baptist Church loonies who would toss a kid onto the street the minute they begin questioning their sexuality and gender. They don’t hold extreme views — or at least theirs would have been considered pretty banal up until 2 minutes ago.
As the state grilled them on a myriad of topics, the answers they gave to these potential scenarios surrounding kids who identified in the alphabet bracket, were nuanced, compassionate and what any human with sense would call sound, judicious parenting.
Kitty like so many, doesn’t believe in “gender-affirming care” like puberty blockers for kids, calling such measures, “chemical castration.” In other words, she doesn’t think minors should make life altering decisions before they are old enough to consent.
And if a child in their care said they were gay?
“There’s nothing wrong with it. I’m going to love you the same, but I would believe you’d need to live a chaste life,” Kitty said.
Mike was largely in agreement with his wife. He wouldn’t consider any type of medical intervention for a child under 18. He feels “talking through issues can help people understand what is going on with them.”
The Marine veteran has also gone to many gay weddings and said he would attend one if his child wanted to marry someone of the same sex.
They wanted the children in their care, who already come from compromised backgrounds, to truly understand themselves before making rash decisions with their body. They also said they’d love them as they are.
Otherwise, the state praised the Burkes, saying they understood what it meant to be foster parents and that they would be equipped to take in children who had behavioral health issues. The Burkes were willing to welcome children of all races and ones with mental health issues.
After all, so many factors are considered in this exhaustive process. But only one seemed to matter.
The Burkes were simply unwilling to forfeit their own Catholic faith and bow down to the religion that is trans ideology — a zealous new belief system that requires utter and complete surrender to its own dogma.
The verdict was issued arbitrarily by a state employee whose subjective views about gender and sexuality denied a family unit from being formed.
The Burkes met in high school and reconnected on Facebook years later.
The interviews with the state assessors reveal a couple with degrees in education, who love their nieces and nephews. Mike is “Uncle Fluffy,” a joking reference to his size.
Mike, who sought mental health services for PTSD after he returned from serving his country in Iraq in 2006, said the births of these kids have been “healing.” Salt of the earth kind of folks.
Medical interventions, whether it be surgeries or puberty blockers for youth who are struggling with gender dysphoria remain controversial in the United States. Some European countries pumping the brakes on surgeries; the UK shuttered their pediatric gender clinic after whistleblowers sparked an investigation.
Foster parents are hardly a dime a dozen (In Mass. alone, according to a DCF 2021 report, there were nearly 8,500 kids in foster care).
It takes a special human with an extreme capacity for unconditional love, patience, even with the understanding that the road can be a bumpy one. That often, as Haun noted, comes from religious faith.
“Many people’s faiths motivate them to get into fostering and help vulnerable children, and is certainly true of the Burkes,” he said.
Imagine the state took that same view of a Muslim couple who expressed the same beliefs surrounding these topics. They wouldn’t dare be as brazen.
Parents and guardians are there to guide and to love, not affirm every thought that pops into a kid’s head.
And while the Burkes have been discriminated against, so have the children in the care of Massachusetts, so desperate to settle into a home and the warm embrace of a mom and dad.
They’ll have to settle for some cold institution or group home, until the state can find faithful practitioners of gender ideology.
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