Ky. officials debate whether state should renew contract with Baptist-owned children’s services company



KENTUCKY (WDKY) – A company that has provided adoption and foster care services for Kentucky for decades, might stop at the end of next month.

Sunrise Children’s Services could end services based on a contract dispute. The problem is a clause in the current contract which some people believe to be discriminatory.

Kentucky Republicans say it’s because Sunrise does not want to abandon its religious beliefs. Governor Beshear says federal law is being followed.

“Folks that thought that certain contracts allowed for the potential for discrimination,” Gov. Beshear said.

The governor said that clause does deal with sexual orientation. Sunrise is a Baptist-owned facility.

Auditor Mike Harmon and other constitutional office holders are urging the governor to keep the relationship with Sunrise. Harmon fears Sunrise’s religious freedom is at risk.

“You can’t discriminate against people of faith,” Harmon said. “Sadly, it seems the Governor over the last year or so has been discriminating against people of faith, he sent out the state police to check out churches.”

Officials with the state Cabinet for Families and Children say Sunrise hasn’t responded to their contract, which contains provisions required by federal law.

Governor Beshear says he hopes the health cabinet and Sunrise can come to an agreement.

“But I hope that something can be worked out,” Gov. Beshear said. “And that it ensures everybody’s rights are ultimately protected.”

“But listen, these individuals they don’t discriminate against any child,” Harmon said. “Not for any reason but definitely not because of their sexual orientation.”

The contract must be signed by June 30.

Members of the House Majority Caucus say this case is why they pushed House Bill 192, which says the commonwealth cannot discriminate against a provider because of that organization’s religious convictions.

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