Gov. Dennis Daugaard made South Dakota the first state to pass anti-LGBT legislation in 2017 with his signing of SB 149 last week, which allows taxpayer-funded adoption and foster agencies to deny services to LGBT people.
The bill, which says no child placement agency in the state can be required to provide services that go against its “sincerely held religious beliefs,” was signed into law by the governor on March 10.
It’s vague and doesn’t call out queer children or families directly, but could be used to discriminate against the queer community.
“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,” James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT Project, said.
“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.”
South Dakota may be the first state to pass such a law, but other state legislatures are trying to pass versions of their own, including Texas (SB 892 and HB 1805), Oklahoma (HB 1507) and Alabama (SB 145).