In 2016, it became illegal for government-funded fostering adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ+ parents, along with single parents, divorced parents, or parents not adhering to any specific religion. Across the country, many Christian-operated organizations disagreed, and some filed lawsuits concerning this issue. In South Carolina, adoption agency Miracle Hill had their license downgraded from regular to provisional as a result of the policy.
However, in 2018, Governor Henry McMaster signed an executive order mandating that state-funded agencies would no longer be penalized for discriminating against LGBTQ+ couples. Gov. McMaster requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow for adoption agencies to refuse service to same-sex couples. HHS agreed, and this led to a lawsuit from Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch, a South Carolina lesbian couple.
What is happening with their case?
Miracle Hills Ministries is the largest state-contacted foster care agency in South Carolina. However, the evangelical Protestant organization asks that all prospective parents sign a doctrinal statement admonishing various things, including same-sex relationships.
Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch, already parents of two children, sued HHS for its approval of the waiver, saying that is was discriminatory and violated the Constitution. HHS officials attempted to have the case dropped, stating that they were not responsible for the actions of SC government officials or Miracle Hill. However, U.S. District Judge Timothy Cain, of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, rejected efforts to dismiss the lawsuit. The case will go to trial.
“We are very excited to hear our case is going forward in court,” the Rogers and Welch said in a statement. “There are many children in South Carolina that need foster homes, and we remain hopeful that couples like us can provide children a lovely home without being rejected or discriminated against.”
Let us help with your family law case
Understanding LGBTQ+ family law issues in South Carolina can be incredibly difficult, particularly with an ever-changing political landscape in the United States. If you have any questions regarding these issues, contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm today. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team will sit with you and listen to your situation as we guide you to the best path moving forward. You can contact our Greenville family law attorney for a consultation today so we can get through this together.