PIERRE, South Dakota (LifeSiteNews) – South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a law last week preventing faith-based adoption agencies from facing government discrimination for not placing children with same-sex couples.
The law is Senate Bill 149, sponsored by Senator Alan Solano, R-District 32, and Representative Steven Haugaard, R-District 10.
“No child-placement agency may be required to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency,” it states. These beliefs “shall be contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by a child-placement agency.”
“The state may not discriminate or take any adverse action against a child-placement agency or an organization seeking to become a child-placement agency” because of its sincerely-held religious or moral beliefs, the law continues.
In Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., Catholic Charities has been forced to shut down for refusing to place children with same-sex couples.
“I’m worried that a child placement agency may make what is in the best interest of the child a correct decision but be subject to a lawsuit by someone who has a little bit of a leg up by virtue of being in a protective class,” said Daugaard. “And if we can forestall that with this legislation then I’m willing to do that.”
“At least in South Dakota, children won’t be pawns in the Left’s push to legitimize same-sex parents,” the Family Research Council (FRC) wrote of South Dakota’s new law.
“The law would ensure that the State of South Dakota may not coerce them to abandon their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions in their placement decisions and the ongoing need for placement of children in safe nurturing homes will be served,” according to the South Dakota Family Policy Council (SDFPC).
FRC and the SDFPC pointed out that South Dakota faith-based adoption agencies currently don’t receive state funds for child placement services. This law simply means that in the future they won’t be forced to choose between closing or abandoning their religious beliefs.
The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual lobby group, suggested this bill will be used to discriminate against interracial couples. It will also allow “state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ youth in their care,” the HRC said in a press release.
Some adoption agencies may have a “vendetta against LGBTQ couples, mixed-faith couples or interracial couples,” said HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow.
James Kinyon, executive director of Catholic Social Services in Rapid City, told local media the law “allows us to do what we can for the common good” without threat of retribution from the government.