The state of Kentucky has struck a deal with a religiously affiliated children’s agency that discriminates against same-sex couples.
The state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services revealed that they have entered a one year contract with Sunrise Children’s Services.
Before reaching the deal, the agency refused to renew its long-standing contract due to the state’s guidelines regarding anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), after a months-long dispute the Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, removed the anti-discrimination clause due to a recent US Supreme Court ruling.
Back in June, the court ruled that a Catholic adoption agency was able to renew its contract with the city of Philadelphia even after it violated city law by refusing married LGBTQ+ couples from adopting.
John Sheller, the attorney for Sunrise, compared the case to this situation and said the state would have “invited litigation” if the guidelines didn’t change.
Beshear and Kentucky officials revealed that the children’s agency agreed to refer LGBTQ+ applicants to other “providers in good standing.”
Earlier this month, Sheller stated that the children’s agency already guided same-sex couples to “better fits.” He also said that the agency accepts LGBTQ+ youth and does not try to change their sexuality.
Chris Hartman, a gay rights advocate, told the AP that the partnership renewal is “disappointing” and “disheartening.”
“We’re going to continue conversations and continue advocating for no discrimination in any state-contracted services with anyone for any reason,” he said.
“We don’t believe that state dollars should be utilized in the efforts of discrimination.”
Sunrise is affiliated with Kentucky Baptist Churches, which has over 2,000 branches and nearly 600,000 members.
The children’s agency was formerly known as Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children and has previously been contracted with the state for over 50 years.