Christian Dad Opposes SB 149’s Religious Discrimination in Adoption

Sioux Falls chef and family man Bill Mawhiney offers his take on Senate Bill 149, the Legislature’s latest attempt to dress up discrimination as “religious freedom.” Mawhiney and his husband have adopted, so Mawhiney recognizes the harmful impacts SB 149 could have on adoptive parents and, more importantly, kids who need good homes:

The bill would allow child-placing agencies to deny services to a child because he or she is of a different religion, or discriminate against would-be parents because based upon their sexual orientation or marital status.

SB 149 would allow an agency that receives state funds to use religious criteria in choosing families for children. While the obvious target of the bill is to allow agencies to turn away gay and lesbian parents, in practice the law would open up the adoption system to all sorts of discrimination.

The bill would allow an adoption agency to turn away a loving aunt who could provide the best home for her nephew because she’s divorced. It could be used to stand in the way of adoption by interfaith families, or allow an adoption agency of one faith to say “no” to parents of another.

It’s wrong, and the people who will be hurt the most are the children in need of a home and the families who want to provide it [Bill Mawhiney, “Strengthen, Don’t Limit Foster Families,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.02.10].

Mawhiney’s mention of interfaith families reminds me that SB 149 targets my family. My wife and I have differing religious views. The results we see in our daughter so far suggest we parent with reasonable effectiveness. If we decide to adopt, SB 149 would allow certain adoption agencies to turn away our offer to do our best for a child in need.

I’ll be polite and say that’s counterproductive.

Mawhiney ought to have an easier time passing the SB 149 religious litmus test than I would. But he still rejects religious discrimination:

I’m a Christian and I believe in the freedom of religion. It’s one of the core values of our country. But freedom of religion shouldn’t be used as a reason to deny kids the home they need and deserve. Religious freedom is not a license to deny vulnerable children loving parents [Mawhiney, 2017.02.10].

Senate Health and Human Services deferred SB 149 last week to Wednesday, February 15.


16 Responses to Christian Dad Opposes SB 149’s Religious Discrimination in Adoption

  1. The South Dakota GOP needs to understand and admit to themselves that love doesn’t discriminate. I know two gay Dads on my street and they’re the most kind neighbors anyone could ever have and the two kids they’re raising are the most well-behaved kids on the block. When I see them at the local park and see them playing with their kids, I see love. All children want is love and attention from they’re parents whether they’re two gay dads, two lesbian mommies or a mommy and a daddy.

    When the Right preaches about freedom they don’t really mean it in all circumstances.

  2. Hood winked is at it again go hood wink.

  3. In the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, some Pharisees ask Christ whether it’s lawful for a man to divorce his wife. His answer refers to Adam and Eve in the first two chapters of Genesis:

    “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    If gender were irrelevant to marriage, that would mean either that Christ was wrong or that we have no accurate record of what Christ taught. In either case, claiming to be a Christian wouldn’t make much sense.

  4. The reality is:

    1) We have way too few adoption agencies in South Dakota. As of a few years ago, there were 342 children available for adoption. Since Mawhiney has adopted, its obvious there are agencies which accept homosexual parents so what is he complaining about? He didn’t get a subsidized adoption from a church charity? We need a more adoption agencies so if the gay community wants to form an agency and subsidize adoptions, I’m all for it.
    2) Because of the regulations (which I don’t oppose), the cost of adoption is only affordable to those with means unless agencies are willing to subsidize the cost of adoption.

    Fact: If the those adoption agencies who provide subsidized adoptions are forced to violate the tenets of their faith to stay in the adoption business, they will cease to be in the business.

    Fact: Those who place ideology or anti-religious views above the religious freedom needs of adoption agencies who subsidize adoptions are in effect doing the following:

    1) Couples with money will get kids
    2) Less kids will get adopted and either grow up in unstable homes or live their lives in foster care.

    But, its all about the ideology for you folks. Not about the kids. Just don’t lecture me on how you care about kids.

  5. mike from iowa

    Praise the lord or pass the loot-whichever you prefer, boys. You just might get your hands on a passel of illegitimate babies to auction off. Tennessee nut job, cum gospel singer wants a law to make all children conceived through artificial insemination declared illegitimate. The milk of human kindness just pours out of wingnuts, doughnut?

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/tennessee-gop-bill-says-children-born-through-artificial-are-not-legitimate/

  6. If there are 342 kids ready for adoption then someone is not doing their job. You all better get to work on that thingy as you continue to deny abortions. Evans, step up to the plate and take on a couple of kids you can indoctrinate into your theories on evolution and young earth. Troy, here ya go, grab onto a couple of these youngsters to show your chops.

    How much of a subsidy do you get for each child?

  7. Kurt wants to make us think that love is irrelevant in marriage. Love is love and no matter how many times you try to tell yourself that gender is relevant, love always wins in the end. Step out of your boxes, Kurt and Troy – you might learn something.

  8. mike from iowa

    Jerry, don’t wingnuts stockpile babies the way they do rape kits?

  9. Fascinating turn by Troy, rather like his efforts on other issues (like the 36% rate cap) to accuse us liberals of hating the poor. Similarly specious.

    The faith-based agencies are putting their ideology above helping children. They want state subsidy, but they don’t want to play by the basic rule of the state that our tax dollars not be used to promote any religion over another.

    In opposing SB 149, I’m on the side of the Constitution. In proposing SB 149, Solano and other sponsors are on the side of bending the Constitution toward state religion.

  10. CH,

    Religious based adoption agencies get NO STATE SUBSIDY and NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS. In an earlier thread I made that clear. Why do you keep repeating “They want state subsidy, but they don’t want to play by the basic rule of the state that our tax dollars not be used to promote any religion over another.” in one form or another. It is false.

    You might not hate kids but you certainly place their needs below that of your ideological priorities.

  11. Because being a Christian doesn’t have anything to do with ideology, so says Kurt and Troy.

  12. Who knows if religious adoption agencies get no state subsidies in SD. With all the corruption in Pierre lately I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some under the table funding going on since the state is likes to keep everything secret.

  13. Reason 856 why RFRA sucks: people discriminate against others and paint themselves as the victim because religious freedom and, as seen by Troy here, somehow get to claim that YOU are the one clinging to ideology. Down is up. Hot is cold.

  14. Dicta,

    In not sure what you think my position is but it is one which is geared to expand the number of people involved in adoptions because we need more agencies. Laws or regulations which drive agencies out of the field is not in the interest of children. Laws or regulations which would decrease charitable support to reduce the cost of adoption is not in the interest of children (but will increase the odds of rich people being able to adopt which might be your agenda).

    If the Muslim community, atheist community, gay community, or hockey enthusiast community wants to form an adoption agency under State standards with regard to evaluating families offering to give up a child for adoption or adopt a child AND focus on their particular community, I’m all for it. During the adoption process, the emotions involved are already huge and anything which reduces cultural tension is a positive.

  15. I’d quoted Christ referring to Adam and Eve:

    “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    Jenny writes:

    Kurt wants to make us think that love is irrelevant in marriage.

    Not at all, Jenny. I’m only pointing out that if gender were irrelevant to marriage, that would mean either that Christ was wrong or that we have no accurate record of what Christ taught. In either case, Mawhiney claiming to be a Christian wouldn’t make much sense.

    Because being a Christian doesn’t have anything to do with ideology, so says Kurt and Troy.

    That’s nearly the opposite of what I’m saying.

  16. If there are no dollars and no other connection to the state, then there is no need for this bill.