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House passes protections for religious adoption agencies

PIERRE (AP) -- The state House wants to give legal protections to religious adoption agencies or foster groups that won't work with people such as same-sex couples and single parents.

PIERRE (AP) - The state House wants to give legal protections to religious adoption agencies or foster groups that won't work with people such as same-sex couples and single parents.

The chamber voted 43-20 Thursday to approve the bill, which passed the Senate. Changes made by the House must now be considered in the Senate.

The bill says that child-placement agencies can't be required to provide services that conflict with "sincerely-held" religious beliefs. It says the state can't "discriminate" against agencies that exercise such convictions.

Supporters say they want to guard agencies from losing state funds or licenses for not working with people of different religions or in a same-sex marriage.

Critics say it would allow state-funded child-placement agencies to discriminate against children or prospective parents.

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Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard hasn't offered a position on the plan.

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