Bill Would Provide Certain Protections to Faith-Based Adoption Agencies

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-  Billy Mawhiney and his husband Kyle have been together for ten years. After getting married they decided to look into the process of becoming foster and adoptive parents.

Currently, the couple is in the process of adopting. However, Senate Bill 149 could possibly change things for other couples like them.

“This bill opens the door to taxpayer discrimination; taxpayer-funded discrimination, “says Bill Mawhiney, non-supporter of Senate Bill 149.

If passed Senate Bill 149 would ensure faith-based adoption agencies to continue placing children and making decisions that are consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Billy says he believes faith-based adoption agencies do great work, but he did speak with one of the sponsors to hear the reason behind the bill.

“I have talked to Senator Solano from the hills area, who’s the prime sponsor of this and again his idea is genuine for what he’s trying to do. This bill just isn’t doing that, “says Mawhiney.

Representative Steven Haugaard, another sponsor of the bill calls it proactive.

In a statement released to KDLT News, he says: “It merely protects the religious liberties we all enjoy. It is intended to head off needless litigation and provide certainty to agencies that are doing the work they have done for decades.”

Billy says as a citizen he feels it’s his duty to share his story, so lawmakers can understand the impact these bills would have on people.

“I think we need to work in Pierre, on getting bills that strengthen foster families, that strengthen adoption families. We need to find bills that do that. We don’t need to find bills that limit the number of families available to kids, “says Mawhiney.

The bill will go to the senate floor this Wednesday.  The Center for Equality also opposes the bill they said on their Facebook page quote “our legislators must take a stand for all South Dakotan’s”.


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