Family Equality Council Comment on South Carolina Request to Allow Discrimination in Adoption and Foster Care Services

June 15, 2018 – For Immediate Release

NEW YORK — A news report published today confirms that the Governor of South Carolina has personally appealed to the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), requesting a waiver from federal nondiscrimination requirements that would allow South Carolina adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against families and youth in care.

Current federal nondiscrimination rules require that “no person otherwise eligible will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in the administration of HHS programs and services based on non-merit factors such as age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.” These rules apply to state-contracted adoption and foster care agencies, including the South Carolina agency whose discriminatory practices prompted Governor McMaster’s extraordinary intervention.

“If HHS grants the waiver requested by South Carolina, that would signal that our government is comfortable with taxpayer-funded discrimination, not only against LGBTQ families and children, but against anyone who doesn’t adhere to a narrow set of religious beliefs,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer for Family Equality Council. “Waiving the requirement to comply with federal nondiscrimination rules would reduce the number of loving families available to thousands of youth in foster care, and further demonstrate that the Trump administration values a narrow set of religious beliefs over the need to find loving, stable homes for vulnerable youth currently in state care.”

Governor McMaster’s request comes alongside the passage of laws creating a license to discriminate for child placing agencies on the basis of narrow religious beliefs in Oklahoma and Kansas this year, joining seven other states where such laws already exist.

Family Equality Council is committed to continuing to fight on behalf for LGBTQ families and for child welfare systems that are free from discrimination. Family Equality Council is proud to lead the national Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, bringing together a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum, including child welfare organizations, child welfare professionals, advocacy and civil rights organizations, and current and former foster youth with lived experience in the child welfare system. Campaign members are united in the belief that no otherwise qualified foster or adoptive parent should be turned away due to their marital status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and that all foster youth – including LGBTQ youth – deserve affirming, supportive care and protection from discrimination.

About Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

# # #

Media Contact:

Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer
646-880-3005 x117 /