Yesterday, a South Carolina judge denied defendants’ motion to dismiss in a case brought last year by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of South Carolina against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of a married lesbian couple, Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch. The couple was turned away by a government-funded foster care agency for failing to meet its religious criteria after HHS granted the state a waiver of federal nondiscrimination rules for federally funded agencies. This waiver enabled state foster care agencies to exclude families based on their faith and sexual orientation.
Christina Wilson Remlin, lead counsel at Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:
“By allowing this case to proceed, the South Carolina court has taken a powerful step forward in the fight against taxpayer-funded discrimination that excludes LGBTQ couples from fostering and adopting children who so desperately need safe and loving care. We are grateful for the work of faith-based agencies and count on them to use their religious beliefs to welcome more prospective parents, not turn them away.”