South Carolina LGBT Advocates Considering Lawsuit Over Faith-Related Foster Care Denials

Earlier this month in the South Carolina state budget was included a part that would allow foster agencies to deny services to LGBT couples based on religion. The proponents of this part of the budget claim that it is in the interest of the protection of religious liberty while detractors see it as just another way for the state to discriminate against the LGBT community.

A Greenville-based organization named Miracle Hill Ministries has referred same-sex couples who qualify to foster children to other agencies. The executive director of S.C. Equality, an LGBT advocacy organization, said that “even though they were referred on, we still believe that no adoption agency in the state should be cherry-picking who they serve and who they don’t serve.”

While the Department of Social Services ordered Miracle Hill Ministries earlier this year to work with non-Christian families, Governor Henry McMasters signed an executive order the same day as the budget provision was proposed that allowed Miracle Hill to circumvent the DSS requirement. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit will be people referred by Miracle Hill to other agencies, with support from advocacy groups like S.C. Equality.