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Our Religion Permits Spanking, Aspiring Foster Parents Tell Court

BOSTON (CBS) -- The State Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Thursday about a Fitchburg couple who want to become foster parents but have been turned down by the state Department of Children and Families because of the issue of corporal punishment.

Gregory and Melanie Magazu of Fitchburg contend their Christianity allows them to spank their own kids, but assistant Attorney General Annapurna Balakrishna told the court that foster kids shouldn't see that.

"There are so many unknowns as to what that child has experienced that it's not appropriate in a home in which you're putting a foster child," Balakrishna said.

Afterward, Melanie Magazu said spanking can be an appropriate punishment.

"We don't even spark our kids if we're angry, so there's no anger involved," she said. "These kids are coming from homes where there's a lot of anger."

The Magazu's say they would make good foster parents, at a time when the state could really use them. If they win, they hope it will open the door for other Christian couples to become foster parents – folks who might have been screened out before.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Doug Cope reports: 

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