A Christian couple is challenging the state of Washington’s refusal to renew their foster care license due to their non-woke views on gender ideology.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, Shane and Jennifer DeGross accuse state officials of refusing to renew their license even though they had spent decades being foster parents and have taken good care of up to four kids.

According to the lawsuit, the state officials’ decision prioritizes “an ideological agenda over children’s best interests by excluding capable parents who can care for children in need.”

“That hurts the many children in foster care, discriminates against the DeGrosses, and violates the Constitution,” the suit stated.

The DeGrosses said that foster care licensing agency Olive Crest, which they had been working with, told them of the new guidelines implemented by Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The guidelines require foster parents to use pronouns that match a child’s gender identity.

The couple made it clear that they would not be conforming with the new guidelines as lying to a child about their real identity or encouraging them to reject their biological gender goes against their Christian faith. While they promised love and support for any child placed in their home, that was not enough for state officials, who denied the couple’s license renewal.

According to the lawsuit, multiple attempts have been made by the couple’s licensing agency to appeal the decision, but they have all proved abortive.

The couple’s effort is backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of them.

For ADF legal counsel Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse, the refusal to renew the couple’s license based on their faith is wrong.

“Washington is putting families like the DeGrosses to an impossible choice: speak against your faith and lie or give up the opportunity to care for hurting children. That is illegal and wrong,” the attorney said.

Widmalm-Delphonse pointed to a federal case from 2020, in which another couple in the state was prohibited from being foster parents to their one-year-old great granddaughter because they opposed gender ideology. The couple had told their foster care licenser that “although we could not support” gender-affirming treatments such as hormone therapy “based on our sincerely-held religious convictions, we absolutely would be loving and supportive of H.V.”

The couple sued the Department of Child, Youth, and Families over the case and won.