• The South Dakota Senate Chambers before the first day of the 2014 legislative session. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
SB-149 will allow adoption agencies to turn away LGBT+ couples in the name of ‘religious freedom’.
Michaela Morgan

6 Mar 2017 - 1:54 PM  UPDATED 6 Mar 2017 - 1:54 PM

The South Dakota legislature has approved a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples in the name of ‘religious freedom’.

The bill—SB-149—was passed by the full senate and then the House of Representatives with 43 votes to 20. The House included an amendment to the bill so it will now be passed back to the Senate.

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LGBT+ activists are urging South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard to veto the bill with the Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow saying the bill is a “licence to discriminate”.     

“Taxpayer money should never be used by state-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective parents based on factors that have nothing to do with good parenting,” says Warbelow.

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“This measure could have consequences not just for LGBTQ couples, but for single people, divorced people, or even those of a different faith.

"The South Dakota House of Representatives must reject this atrocious legislation allowing discrimination contrary to the best interests of children in desperate need of loving, caring homes.”

The ACLU’s South Dakota Policy Director Elizabeth A. Skarin has called on legislators to take a stand against SB-149 to “ensure that discrimination doesn’t get in the way of loving families seeking to provide homes for those who don’t have them.”