Today the South Dakota State House approved SB 149 on a 43-20 (7 excused) vote. The bill, which would allow taxpayer funded agencies to refuse to provide any service, including adoption or foster care services, on the basis on the agency’s religious or moral convictions, now moves to the Governor’s desk for consideration.
“Senate Bill 149 is a harmful and discriminatory piece of legislation that sets South Dakota backward," said Libby Skarin, policy director of the ACLU of South Dakota. "This would allow state-funded child placement agencies, based on their religious beliefs, to discriminate against children and prospective parents. Loving, qualified families could be turned away simply because they are LGBT, of a different faith than the agency, or divorced. The hundreds of children who are awaiting forever families in our state deserve better than this. Their best interests should be our priority, not the religious beliefs of these agencies.
We hope that Governor Daugaard recognizes the harm that discriminatory laws like SB 149 cause our state and considers a veto. If SB 149 becomes law, we want to hear from you or any child or family you know that is harmed. We will be examining our legal options.”