Shameful: South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill into Law

By Adam Polaski • March 10, 2017 • 7:19 pm

Today, March 10, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 149 into law. The new law will allow taxpayer-funded child-placement agencies to deny services, including adoption and foster care, to qualified and loving LGBT individuals, based on the agency’s religious or moral convictions.

Earlier this month Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe, spoke out against the discriminatory bill, saying:

“Under SB 149, taxpayer funded adoption and foster care agencies can legally discriminate against loving and capable parents, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If signed into law, some of the state’s most vulnerable and helpless children will be denied loving and safe homes. This is wrong on every level, and it will damage South Dakota’s reputation.”

Just last year, Governor Daugaard vetoed a different anti-LGBT bill, one passed in South Dakota that sought to restrict transgender children from using the restroom in line with their gender identity. Governor Daugaard did the right thing last year by vetoing the bill, and he should have shown the same sense here for this damaging, clearly discriminatory legislation.

Governor Daugaard’s signature makes this the first anti-LGBT bill signed into law in 2017, a shameful distinction for the lawmakers and Governor of South Dakota to bring onto their state.

Libby Skarin, Policy Director of the ACLU of South Dakota, said today:

“We’re deeply disappointed by Governor Daugaard’s decision to green light Senate Bill 149. 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 … In the end, this bill was never about religious freedom. It has always been about allowing private organizations that discriminate to receive state contracts and taxpayer dollars to carry out their religions missions. We’re particularly concerned about how this bill could impact vulnerable kids in our foster care system that deserve to have their best interests considered above the desires of private agencies.“

Read more from the ACLU of South Dakota.


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