A faith-based foster care group in South Carolina that does not allow gay couples or families who do not agree with its statement of faith to serve as foster parents has been granted a religious exemption to continue its program, The State reports.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families granted the exemption to Miracle Hill Ministries Wednesday following a 2018 March request by Gov. Henry McMaster.
"This decision preserves all of the foster care agencies currently available for children in South Carolina by ensuring faith-based organizations can continue to serve this vulnerable population," said Lynn Johnson, HHS's assistant secretary for children and families. "It protects minors who are in need of as many options as possible for being placed in loving foster families. The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right."
An Obama-era administration regulation stated organizations receiving federal funds could not discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.