South Dakota officially joined three other states that have enacted laws to protect Adoption Agencies that discriminate against prospective adoptive families.
"Before signing the bill, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he was concerned 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."
"Libby Skarin, policy director of ACLU South Dakota, said Daugaard's decision shows South Dakotans that he cares about private agencies more than the needs of children. She said the group is exploring legal challenges to the new law and is encouraging kids and adults who feel negative impacts to step forward."
"Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement that Daugaard's action 'signals the potential of a dark new reality for the fight for LGBTQ rights.'"
This bill has the potential to limit child-placement in the state and could invite costly federal litigation by cementing in state law the right to discriminate against same-sex couples, single parents and even households that observe a different religion. The law, in essence, protects adoption agencies, even those that are accepting state taxpayer funds, from any repercussions from discriminating against prospective adoptive families if they cite the reason as being because of their "sincerely held religious beliefs."
"South Dakota joins Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia to pass so-called religious exemption bills concerning adoption and foster care. It's first since the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
Legislatures in Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma are considering similar 'religious exemption' bills this year but only South Dakota's as approved it."