South Dakota Bill Providing Protections for Religious Child-Placement Agencies (SB 149)
This law was last updated on Jul 11, 2017
SB 149 would prohibit the state from requiring a child-placement agency to provide any service that conflicts with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency.
The bill would prohibit the state from discriminating or taking any adverse action against a child-placement agency or an organization seeking to become a child-placement agency on the basis, wholly or partly, that the child-placement agency has declined or will decline to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with a sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency.
The bill provides that any faith-based or religious child-placement agency that enters into a contract with the state or participates in a state benefit program for child-placement services shall retain the agency’s independence from the state, including:
- the child-placement agency’s control over the definition, development, practice, and expression of the agency’s religious beliefs and moral convictions;
- the agency’s hiring and employment practices; and
- decisions as to whether any child-placement service conflicts with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the agency.
The bill would not allow a child-placement agency to decline to provide a service on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, or national origin. The bill fails to extend the same protections regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.
Under this law, child-placement agencies would be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals looking to adopt.
Passed the senate on February 22, 2017, by a 22-12 vote.
Passed the house on March 2, 2017, by a 43-20 vote.
Signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) on March 10, 2017.