South Dakota Governor Signs Bill Protecting Rights of Faith-Based Adoption Agencies

Photo Credit: Life Matters Worldwide

PIERRE, S.D. — The governor of South Dakota has signed a bill protecting the rights of faith-based adoption agencies to decline to place children with homosexuals.

While the legislation does not specifically mention homosexuality, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said that he was concerned that “private child-placement agencies acting in the best interest of a child could be subject to a lawsuit when denying placement to someone in a ‘protected class,’ such as members of the LGBT community.”

“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 on the basis, wholly or partly, that the child-placement agency has declined or will decline to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with a sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency,” S.B. 149 reads in part.

Daugaard, who formerly served as the director of the Children’s Home Society, told reporters he wanted to ensure that placement agencies aren’t punished or forced to close because they run their organization in accordance with the tenets of their faith.

“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,” he said. “And if we can forestall that with this legislation then I’m willing to do that.”

Homosexual advocacy groups, such as the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the law, opining that it legalizes discrimination.

“Governor Daugaard’s decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law is deeply disappointing,” ACLU of South Dakota Policy Director Elizabeth Skarin said in a statement. “Loving, qualified families should not be turned away from adopting a needy child simply because they are LGBT, of a different faith than the agency, or divorced.”

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However, supporters of the bill conversely noted that the legislation rather ensures that the state does not discriminate against people of faith. They pointed to cases in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Illinois and California where adoption agencies have been threatened with revocation of their license or the denial of a contract.

“The law would ensure that the State of South Dakota may not coerce [faith-based agencies] 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,” the South Dakota Family Policy Council (SDFPC) said in a statement.

“These faith-based adoption agencies do not currently receive any state funds for child placement services, but without this protection, they are faced with a possible decision of closing their doors or failing their mission,” it continued. “While this has already occurred in other states, it should never happen here in South Dakota.”

Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia already have protective measures in place, and Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma are considering passing similar laws.

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  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Yes!! It’s time!! ALL Westerners should really start differenciating the destructive homosexual immorality and the good noble moral Christian religion, before they hurt their own children further. The West has gone insane in recent years by having too many dissolved family units and applying racial equality upon sexual immorality. Godless and childless individuals should be outlawed from taking leaderships because they are just greedy and don’t care about mankind or the future.

    At this rate, both the truth and morality will be altogether prohibited in the secular West and all its mentally-slave nations. The Western white people always need the Judeo-Christian values to be good and do what is right. The Westerners are not smarter than the Holy Bible; secular nations only live for infanticide and unthinkable immorality. No more insane reign of the stupid incorrect political correctness. Man needs God to be good and also to be sane; today’s secular Western culture is the mega proof of the truth in the entire universe!!

    • Kel

      Please show me data which support the argument that Christians are empirically more moral/ethical or less prone to crime than gays and lesbians or secularists. There are good and bad Christians, good and bad atheists, good and bad Muslims, and so on. Individuals should be judged based on his or her own actions, not their religion, skin color, sexual preference, or what have you.

      Your assertion that secular people “only live for infanticide and unthinkable immorality” is asinine. I am a nonbeliever, and I have quite a few secular/nonreligious friends. None of us has killed babies or, as I assume you’re referring to, has had an abortion. The only law I have ever broken is that I speed occasionally and I might have jaywalked a couple of times. I’ve never done illegal drugs in my entire life or smoked one cigarette. I’ve never smoked weed. I don’t sleep around. I drink alcohol sparingly (1 or 2 drinks about every month or so), and never did while underage.

      Honestly, I’m sure our goals in life are not much different. I find meaning in my life as most people do – I find meaning in shared time with family and loved ones, in striving to achieve my highest potential, and to leave a world that’s better, to name a few things. My main concerns are my family and my career. Other than that, I enjoy running, hiking, sports, drawing, painting, piano, and playing with my dogs. Maybe catch a movie. Some weekends I tutor kids or volunteer at homeless shelters. I would hardly call that immoral.

      And if you want to talk about not caring about humankind or the future, just look at the people who typically are against environmentalism. In the US, they tend to be fundamentalist Christians or of the extreme religious right. Secular humanists on the other hand, want every person no matter the color, gender or sexual preference to have the same basic human rights, and want to preserve a habitable environment for posterity.

      This policy of being able to deny people adoption based on sexual-orientation or religion is not an example of mere “political incorrectness”, it is discrimination, plain and simple. And it is misguided and simply wrong. Parents need to be able to provide for a child and love him or her. And these qualities are certainly not limited to white, Christian heterosexuals. Broad, sweeping generalizations of groups of people do everyone a disservice.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Unbelieving Westerners blaspheme and support the killing of the preborn children and demand homosexuality. Christian Westerners seek the truth and keep purity and conduct God’s love. The mega proof for all to see in the Western former Christendom.

  • james blue

    So can a secular agency decline to place a child into a Christian home?

    • Kel

      “Religious freedom” these days is really just code for “Christian supremacy” or theocracy. A way to continue to suppress those in the minority or underrepresented in positions of power – whether it is on the basis of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or religion (or lack thereof).

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Sexual orientation should not be included; sin has no equality with anything. And people should be constantly encouraged and taught to believe in God instead to hold atheism. Atheism promotes the godless evil willfully and knowingly. The Western culture is screwed up this century by equality the good and the evil. In such a world, villains take control of the people. Americans need the Holy Bible for life and freedom and justice.

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      Christian home is good and none should decline it. If USA is split into a Christian state and a secular state, everyone will flee to the Christian state.

      • james blue

        Look up “Hana Grace-Rose Williams”

        Many states allow exemptions from child abuse laws for religious reasons.

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          Secular Western culture is a child-abuse; exposure to homosexuality is a child-abuse. All children have rights to innocence and morality and normality.