State Bills: South Carolina

Passed: 2018


On July 6, 2018 South Carolina Governor signed into law the state's 2018-2019 appropriations bill, H. 4950, that sneakily included a small paragraph (Paragraph 38.29) with discriminatory language that would allow state funded adoption agencies to turn away qualified South Carolinians seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.

South Carolina’s children shouldn’t pay the cost of discrimination and neither should taxpayers. That’s unacceptable. 

Read Family Equality Council's statement here.

LETTER FROM FAITH LEADERS OPPOSING Discriminatory Proviso in H. 4950

Almost 100 South Carolina faith leaders wrote to Governor Henry McMaster asking him to line-item veto the license to discriminate proviso snuck into H. 4950.

In a joint letter, the faith leaders and organizations affirm their commitment to religious freedom and celebrate the important work of faith-based child welfare agencies but caution against the distortion of religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate. The letter rejects the notion that faith-based child welfare agencies should be allowed to put their faith above the best interests of the children they serve, stating that:

“our values as Americans and as people of faith compel us to ensure that every child finds their forever home, and that every family that can provide a safe, supportive, and loving home for a child is matched with the child that will make their family whole.”

Background Information:

Buried in its massive 2017-2018 appropriations bill, H 4950, the South Carolina legislature snuck in a license to discriminate! In a bill that is over 500 pages, one paragraph was quietly inserted to allow taxpayer-funded child welfare providers to turn away qualified LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples, people of different faiths, or unmarried individuals just because they do not meet the child welfare provider’s religious or moral litmus test. Such discriminatory language has been highly controversial and hotly debated in other states this session, but these legislators are trying to slip it past South Carolinians with no public debate – this is outrageous! 

Turning away qualified families limits the pool of available stable and loving homes, making it harder for South Carolina’s most vulnerable children to find foster and adoptive placements. By hiding this provision in an appropriations bill, lawmakers are trying to slip this by the public eye without even hearing public comments or having a proper debate on a bill that has dire consequences to youth in foster care.