South Dakota’s governor said Friday that he expects to sign a bill giving broad legal protections to faith-based organizations that refuse based on their religious beliefs to place children in certain households.

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said that he’s concerned private child-placement agencies acting in the best interest of a child could be subject to a lawsuit when denying placement to someone in a “protected class,” such as members of the LGBT community. He hopes the legislation would forestall that.

This marks the first time Daugaard has taken a stance on the measure that supporters say preemptively protects religious adoption and foster care agencies from things such as state funding cuts, revoked licenses and denied contracts if South Dakota were to eventually ban discrimination based on sexual orientation as several other states have done.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Solano, a Republican from Rapid City, has said religious agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Washington, D.C., ended adoption services after states passed non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation. He doesn’t want the same thing to happen in South Dakota, though such a proposal hasn’t garnered much support in the state.

Jim Kinyon, executive director of South Dakota’s Catholic Social Services, has said that the legislation seeks to ensure the state doesn’t discriminate against faith-based organizations for their “sincerely held” beliefs.

Critics think the bill could limit child-placement in the state and could invite costly federal litigation.

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