South Carolina Introduces Anti-LGBTQ Language into Child Welfare Bill

By Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel, Children's Rights

As part of the 500-page bill H. 4950, South Carolina legislators have included a small but potentially dangerous provision that would allow state agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ families.

Like Oklahoma’s SB 1140, the provision in H. 4950 would enable adoption and foster care agencies in South Carolina to reject same-sex, gender non-conforming couples and individuals and single individuals on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

At Children’s Rights, we recognize the meaning of this controversial language, which has been used to codify into law a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. In the child welfare space, that means turning away qualified LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents who could otherwise provide safe and loving homes to children who so desperately need them.

If state law authorizes providers to discriminate against this community, we lose an excellent potential foster and adoption resource. These LGBTQ couples will be alienated from the system, keeping loving families from being built and inflicting needless trauma on the vulnerable young people the state of South Carolina is charged with protecting.

Additionally, the provision dramatically increases the risk that young people who identify as LGBTQ or are questioning their identity will be inadvertently placed in the custody of a provider who discriminates.

We must stop H. 4950. Contact your state representatives today and tell them you oppose this anti-LGBTQ measure.