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US lesbian couple sues after foster agency turns them away


IANS Washington
A lesbian couple in South Carolina is challenging the US state's practice of letting taxpayer-funded foster care agencies reject prospective parents who don't share their religious beliefs.
The US Department of Health and Human Services issued a waiver in January that lets federally funded child welfare agencies in the state refuse to perform services that conflict with their religious values, CNN reported on Friday.
As a result of the waiver, Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch have said that the state enabled a faith-based agency to turn them away when they tried to become foster parents in April.
The couple filed the lawsuit on Thursday, accusing the state and President Donald Trump's administration of violating their constitutional rights by letting agencies use religious criteria to screen out would-be foster families.
Besides seeking to rescind the waiver, the lawsuit also asks for a permanent injunction that would prevent the state from contracting with or licensing agencies that discriminate against prospective foster parents based on their religion, sex, sexual orientation or marital status as same-sex couples.
"Faith is a part of our family life, so it is hurtful and insulting to us that Miracle Hill's religious view of what a family must look like deprives foster children of a nurturing, supportive home," Brandy Welch said in a statement.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 10:48 AM IST

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