Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota's
Republican governor, is keeping quiet on a controversial bill
approved last week by the GOP-controlled Legislature.
Senate Bill 149 seeks to allow
taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse to place children with
LGBT families based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.
The bill states that “no
child-placement agency may be required to provide any service that
conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that
conflict with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction
of the child-placement agency that shall be contained in a written
policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by a
Daugaard said last week that he would
“listen to both sides” of the debate before deciding whether to
sign or veto the bill.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, has called on Daugaard to veto
the bill. Last year, Daugaard vetoed a bill (HB 1008) that
prohibited transgender students from using the bathroom of their
“We implore Governor Daugaard to veto
this legislation. This proposal grants state-funded adoption agencies
a license to discriminate, harming children in need of families by
rejecting a wide range of qualified prospective parents including
LGBTQ parents and by acting against the best interest of LGBTQ youth
in the agency’s care,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
“Last year, when Governor Daugaard vetoed HB 1008, he stood on the
right side of history and protected transgender children. He must do
the same now. This legislation puts discrimination ahead of the best
interests of more than a thousand children in South Dakota waiting
for a loving home.”