By Marissa Duffeild
South Dakota’s governor is the first to pass what has been called an anti-LGBT+ bill as of 2017. Senate Bill 149 states that tax funded adoption agencies are allowed to deny a LGBT+ families to foster or adopt a child for religious reasons.
Anti-discrimination laws for child placement in LGBT+ homes vary state by state. Although adoption is legal for single LGBT+ people and same-sex couples in all 50 states. Any state can pass bills for religious freedom that do targets the minorities like single people, interracial couples, and LGBT+ couples, such as the one passed in South Dakota.
This is not the first law like this to be passed and certainly won’t be last. Many organizations such as the ACLU are very upset by the prejudices against LGBT+ homes even when they could provide a loving family for these children.
“We’re deeply disappointed by Governor Daugaard’s decision to green light Senate Bill 149,” said Libby Skarin the policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “This discriminatory legislation takes South Dakota in the wrong direction, and sends the message that our leaders are more concerned with the desires of religious agencies than the rights of individuals and children in our state.”
Virginia and Michigan also have discriminatory laws against LGBT+ couples for reasons of religious freedom. Some states with laws against these types of discriminations have had agences stop providing service altogether, in states like California and Massachusetts, rather than placing children with same-sex couples. Meanwhile, places like Alabama and Texas are considering passing bills similar to the one passed in South Dakota introduced to their state.
“This is the first anti-LGBT+ bill that any state has signed into law this session. Governor Daugaard’s action not only puts the best interests of the more than a thousand vulnerable children served by South Dakota’s foster care system at risk, it signals the potential of a dark new reality for the fight for LGBTQ rights,” said the Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
Warbelow insinuates that this bill is not only a setback for LGBT+ rights, but it is also an issue for the thousands of children who will not be placed in safe, caring homes because of others’ beliefs.
This could be the only the first of many anti-LGBT+ bills and laws that will be passed in 2017.