Beshear, Sunrise have another roadblock in negotiations

The negotiations between the state and Sunrise Children’s Services have apparently hit another snag.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has offered Sunrise Children’s Services a contract in the form previously requested with specifically a line eliminated in two different sections.

“Sunrise has responded by saying that’s no longer their position, and they now want significant additional terms written into the contract,” he said. “So, at this point, there is not (a) resolution. But they have the contract they (originally) asked for, right there, ready to sign, if they are willing.”

Sunrise’s attorney, John Sheller, said Thursday any additional language being sought is needed to comply fully with the Supreme Court ruling in the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case. The state also has asked for changes or clarifications in the contract, he said.

“Every clarification requested by Sunrise is either something required by Fulton, something it requested before or something Kentucky has accepted in the past,” Sheller said in an email. “We look forward to completing the process soon and we presume Kentucky feels the same.”

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Fulton v. Philadelphia was what prompted the state’s willingness to offer the contract that protects the organization’s “deeply held religious beliefs.” The state wasn’t going to offer the contract prior to that ruling even though past administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have done so since the 1970s.

The Supreme Court decision said the city of Philadelphia could not block a Catholic agency from being awarded a contract over its refusal to work with same-sex couples.

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