March 13, 2017
Here's something both sides should agree on: the importance of adoption. But these days, even finding loving homes for kids is an explosive topic in the bigger clash over religious liberty. At least in South Dakota, children won't be pawns in the Left's push to legitimize same-sex parents. Late Friday, Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed a bill into law that protects the beliefs of faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers. As the South Dakota Family Policy Council explains, "The law would ensure that the State of South Dakota may not coerce them to abandon their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions in their placement decisions and the ongoing need for placement of children in safe nurturing homes will be served. These faith-based adoption agencies do not currently receive any state funds for child placement services, but without this protection, they are faced with a possible decision of closing their doors or failing their mission. While this has already occurred in other states, it should never happen here in South Dakota."
Unfortunately, those "other states" -- places like Massachusetts and Indiana -- forced groups like Catholic Charities to make a choice: either place children with same-sex parents or lose their government contracts. In a huge blow to the kids of those states, the group made the sad decision to close their doors rather than compromise their beliefs. Governor Daugaard, who was the former director of Children's Home Society, knows how catastrophic that could be to South Dakota. "Whether it's the state acting directly or through an agency, we need to do everything we can to encourage those agencies to stay in this business and help us find those placements," he told the press. "I'm worried that a child placement agency may make what is in the best interest of the child a correct decision but be subject to a lawsuit by someone who has a little bit of a leg up by virtue of being in a protective class. And if we can forestall that with this legislation, then I'm willing to do that."
In most cases, these faith-based agencies don't even receive state funds -- but that doesn't mean they couldn't become a target. In too many places, Christian groups are being driven out of the adoption business, leaving children and prospective parents with even fewer options for building families. Adoption is not--and should never be -- about adults. This is about giving children the best chance to succeed in life. If LGBT activists truly cared about kids, they'd stop using them as leverage to force society -- through the government -- to embrace their lifestyle. A lifestyle, social science tells us, that poses serious risks to children. Hats off to South Dakota for going to bat for the freedom of belief.
Speaking of the First Amendment, America's college students could use another lesson in it. In a revealing new video, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom took to the campus of the University of Wisconsin and asked students if they thought designers should be free not to dress Melania Trump. Absolutely, most responded! What about Muslims, ADF went on? Should they be forced to sing at a Christian church? No way, students said. But watch what happens when these same young people are asked if a Christian photographer should be able to turn down a same-sex wedding job. It's a powerful lesson in the hypocrisy of the Left.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.