S.C. General Assembly sends clear and loud message that no one should be discriminated when fostering or adopting children in our state.
The winners are the 4,000 children in South Carolina’s foster care system!
Yesterday, SC Equality celebrated a huge victory at the State House protecting the rights of loving couples of the same-sex and of all faiths wishing to adopt or foster a child in South Carolina.
Earlier this year, there was an effort to sneak a proviso (38.29) into the massive state budget bill (H.4000). The measure would have allowed state funded private faith-based adoption organizations to turn away prospective same-sex couples and others based on the organization’s religious beliefs. Unfortunately, the proviso passed the House, but we had planned strategy.
SC Equality quickly put a plan into action to remove the proviso on the Senate side. Thanks to the knowledge of parliamentary procedure, Senator Brad Hutto, (D) Orangeburg, made a motion on the Senate floor to have the proviso removed and without objection, the proviso was stricken from the bill.
When you have a budget that has passed one chamber and the language of the bill is changed in the other chamber, it goes to a Conference Committee (made up of 3 members of the House and 3 members of the Senate) to come up with a compromise.
WE HAD A STRATEGY
We knew that SC Equality had to be particularly strategic on this issue. As we have done on many others issues throughout the session we would have issued a calls-to-action. However, we decided the diplomatic route was the correct way to proceed.
We worked with various members of the Conference Committee and were successful in achieving our goal!
WHAT DOES THIS NOW MEAN?
As you know, Governor McMaster signed an Executive Order last year allowing state-funded private faith-based adoption agencies, like Miracle Hill Ministries, to discriminate and turn away same-sex couples wishing to adopt or foster a child in South Carolina. He went even further by asking the Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver (allowing for such discrimination and for Miracle Hill to continue to get Federal money to operate). He wanted the S.C. General Assembly to basically ratify his decision by passing the language in Proviso 38.29.
However, that did not happen with the work of SC Equality. The General Assembly sent the governor a loud and clear message by deleting the language from the state budget yesterday. However, the governor’s Executive Order is still in effect.
SC Equality has vowed to challenge the governor’s Executive Order and the waiver in court and our lawyers have been working around the clock on moving forward. We will have an announcement next week.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The state appropriations bill (H.4000) now goes to Governor McMaster’s desk for his signature. Because the governor cannot legislate, there is no longer language to veto
Fighting For You,