State Board of Social Services To Meet Wednesday About Policy Revision
The State Board of Social Services meets on Wednesday, April 20 regarding proposed adoption rules that would add non-discrimination based on sexual orientation into the policy.
According to their agenda, a public comment period will be held at 1:30 p.m. The office is located at 1604 Santa Rosa Road, Richmond, VA. The meeting is open to the public.
From Equality Virginia:
The Commissioner of the Department of Social Services has recommended that the Virginia State Board of Social Servicesstrip protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, age, disability, gender, religion, political beliefs and family status from proposed rules governing licensed adoption and foster care agencies.
Yesterday, Equality Virginia and the Human Rights Campaign jointly called on the Board to reject the Commissioner’s recommendations (and earlier advice from the Attorney General) and approve the adoption rules as originally proposed.
It is not too late for you to join EV and the HRC in telling the Chair of the Virginia State Board of Services that you want the Board to approve the rules as published including the provision that protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. But you must do it right NOW.
Here’s what EV’s Executive Director, James Parrish, is saying about the Commissioner’s action: “The Governor was right when he said in his Executive Directive Number 1 that ‘[d]iscrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Commissioner, who was appointed by Governor McDonnell, is wrong in recommending changes to the proposed adoption rules that are inconsistent with this principle.”
“We urge the State Board of Social Services to take action to approve the non-discrimination rule consistent with their obligation as state officials and public servants to protect all Virginia citizens from unconstitutional discrimination. No person who wants to become a parent should be forced to leave the state to do so, and no child should be denied a loving home because of such discrimination.”
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese added his voice: “Virginia’s children deserve better than the politics the Governor and Commissioner are playing. Now the State Board of Social Services has the chance to put children first. We ask members of the board to reject the Commissioner’s recommendations and eliminate discrimination in the adoption process. We also call on the legislature to pass legislation that makes the best interest of the child the sole basis for adoption, not whether someone is gay or whether two caring adults are able to be married.”
Section 22 VAC 40-131-170 B. of the proposed new standards for licensed child placing agencies, which the Commissioner wants the Board to amend, says that such an agency licensed by the state shall “prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to: 1. Delay or deny a child’s placement; or 2. Deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent.”
The Commissioner’s recommendation, which is included in an attachment to a memo outlining changes in the proposed final rule dated April 20, 2011 [sic] can be found online here.
Photo credit: Human Rights Campaign.
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