Adoption Guidelines for LGBTQ

Same sex couples can adopt privately from

Same sex couples could apply with Bethany Christian Services or Catholic Services but probably will be denied.    Both of these agencies opposed SB 149 but they stated they still will offer fostering for same sex couples.

Same sex couples may also apply to be foster/adoptive parents through their local South Dakota Department of Social Services office. The program is somewhat intensive but cost effective.

If any same sex couple has been discriminated against and feel their rights are violated they should seek the advice of legal counsel or visit with their local ACLU.

South Dakotas adoption laws are not friendly to the LGBTQ. Reach out to legislators to express how limited this process is for you as a same sex couple.  Before you talk to them, see how they voted on SB 149, which was passed in the 2017 session and allows adoption agencies under state contract to discriminate against LGBTQ families.  Have an honest but respectful conversation.  You can  find your legislators on the LRC website (Who are my Legislators?)

Angie Buhl O’Donnell honored

The Advocate, the nation’s premier LGBTQ magazine and website featured a LGBTQ hero from each of the states.

Who was South Dakota’s pick?

Angie Buhl O’Donnell

An out bisexual, Buhl O’Donnell was the first LGBT member of the South Dakota legislature. She has represented the 15th district in the South Dakota Senate since 2010, a seat she won when she was just 25 years old. That same year she was honored with the Young Democrats of America LGBT Caucus’s Leadership Award.

See the listing for all 50 states: 50 States, 50 Heroes

Angie began her LGBTQ activist in 2006 working for South Dakotans Against Discrimination in trying to defeat Amendment C – the ban on same-sex marriage, and was a founding board member of Equality South Dakota.

Joint Statement on SB 149

South Dakota Gives License to Discriminate to Adoption Agencies


Equality Federation and Equality South Dakota condemn South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard for signing into law a discriminatory religious exemption bill that would prevent children in need of homes a fair opportunity to find a loving family.

Fran Hutchins, Deputy Director said, “As someone who was raised in an adoptive family myself, I find it so sad and troubling that any child would be denied a loving family because the agency chose to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents or prospective parents of another faith. Every child should have a loving forever home.”

Lawrence Novotny, chair of Equality South Dakota, is disappointed about the Governor’s decision.  “We view this as another attack against the LGBTQ community of our state,” said Novotny.   “South Dakota does not provide any job discrimination protections and now innocent children needing a loving home will also be affected.”   Novotny said he heard from a couple who is considering adopting that they are now looking at leaving the state.

Both Equality South Dakota and Equality Federation share the value that freedom of religion is important. That’s why it’s already protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. But freedom of religion should not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others or to deny loving homes to children in foster or government care just because the prospective parents have different religious beliefs than the adoption agency.

Adoption and parenting should focus on creating loving, stable, forever homes for kids, and making sure children have the nurturing environment that allows them to thrive and succeed. Adoption decisions should be made based on the best interests of the child, not based on religious beliefs of child services workers and placement agencies.

This license to discriminate bill would let taxpayer-funded adoption agencies keep kids in foster care or a government group home rather than allowing them to be adopted by loving parents who don’t pass the agency’s religious test. This hurts children and deprives them of the forever homes they so desperately need.