42-4-201. Factors to be considered -- best interests of child. (1) All relevant factors must be considered in determining the best interests of the child in an adoption proceeding. Factors relevant to the determination of a prospective adoptive parent's parenting ability, the future security for a child, and familial stability must be considered. In determining the best interests of the child, the following factors with regard to a prospective adoptive parent may be considered:
(a) age, as it relates to health, earning capacity, provisions for the support of a child, or other relevant circumstances;
(b) marital status, as it relates to the ability to serve as a parent in particularized circumstances; and
(c) religion, as it relates to the ability to provide the child with an opportunity for religious or spiritual and ethical development and as it relates to the express preference of a birth parent or a child to be placed with an adoptive parent of a particular religious faith or denomination.
(2) For purposes of ensuring that the best interests of the child are met, the department or a licensed child-placing agency is authorized to gather and use, in an appropriate, nonarbitrary manner, information concerning the age, marital status, and religious beliefs of a prospective adoptive parent. The authority granted by this subsection includes the authority to receive and to consider, consistent with the best interests of the child, the preferences of birth parents relating to the age, marital status, or religious beliefs of an adoptive parent.
(3) Consideration of religious factors by a licensed child-placing agency that is affiliated with a particular religious faith is not arbitrary consideration of religion within the meaning of this section.