Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota's
Republican governor, on Friday signed a controversial bill approved
last week by the GOP-controlled Legislature, making him the first
governor this year to sign an anti-LGBT bill into law.
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
While Daugaard offered written
statements about other bills he signed on Friday, he had little to
say about SB 149. According to the AP, Daugaard said before signing
the bill that he hopes the legislation will prevent lawsuits against
private child-placement agencies who deny placement to people in a
James Esseks, director of ACLU's LGBT
Project, called the new law “deeply troubling.”
“Today’s signing of S.B. 149 is
deeply troubling not only because it opens the door to widespread
discrimination against LGBT people and children in South Dakota, but
because it’s only one of many bills moving through state
legislatures across the country that authorizes taxpayer-funded
discrimination against LGBT Americans,” he said in a statement.
“These laws run contrary to one of our core American values: the
rule of law, which means we are all held to and protected by the same
laws. These exemptions encourage people to pick and choose which laws
they are going to follow based on their religious beliefs.”
At least three other states, including
Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia, have similar laws.