Lesbian Couple Denied Foster Refugee Child Because They ‘Don’t Mirror The Holy Family’ 

“I feel like all families are holy families.”

In this week’s edition of why are people so homophobic?, a married Texas couple, Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin, are suing for discrimination after Catholic Charities of Fort Worth told them they couldn’t foster refugee children because they are gay.


They are so beautiful together, and you can feel how badly they want a child by hearing them speak in this moving YouTube video. Marouf, 41, and Esplin, 33, had difficultly conceiving a child, and were unable to adopt a child domestically. They then decided to foster a refugee child. They wanted to bring a young person into their home and embrace them with love and care. They have been married for three years and both teach at A&M college.

They looked to the Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, the only organization in the area that provides refugee fostering services. Catholic Charities of Fort Worth told them they were ineligible—because their gay relationship “doesn’t mirror the Holy Family.”

Marouf and Esplin reached out to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to see if this discrimination was legal.

Now Lambda Legal is getting involved. “Our clients should be able to walk into any agency and be treated equally,” said Lambda Legal attorney Jamie Gliksberg, who is representing Esplin and Marouf. “Using religion as an excuse, federal taxpayer dollars are being used to discriminate.”

The couple is suing the Department of Health and Human Services as well as Catholic Charities for discrimination.

Gliksberg wants followers of this case to be aware that this isn’t just anti-gay. Catholic Charities’ could refuse to let Jews, Muslims, or anyone who isn’t Catholic from fostering refugee youth.

We are outraged that a loving family can be denied of their desire to care for a refugee child because of homophobia.

“I feel like all families are holy families,” says Fatma. Learn more about their case here.

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