South Carolina group can deny gay couples as foster parents

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The federal government will allow federally funded foster care agencies in South Carolina to deny services to same-sex or non-Christian couples.

A waiver issued Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allows Greenville’s Miracle Hill Ministries to continue as a state-supported foster care agency.

The exemption was needed because a regulation from President Barack Obama’s administration prevents publicly licensed and funded foster care agencies from serving specific religions.

Gov. Henry McMaster has said he would have asked for a waiver for a Jewish or Muslim organization because the issue isn’t Christianity but the constitutional protection of religion.

Gay rights and other religious groups say that’s a smoke screen. They say it makes no sense for South Carolina to reject any foster family when temporary guardians are needed so badly.

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