The Board voted 5-1 yesterday to keep their current regulations that do not include protections for sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, disability, political beliefs and family status in the adoption and fostering process. In Virginia, many adoption and foster agencies are faith-based organizations.
In April, the Board voted to approve final rules that only prohibit discrimination based on race, national origin and ethnicity. The Board approved final rules that allow discrimination based on age, family status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, political beliefs against children in the foster care/adoption system and against prospective single parents and married couples seeking to adopt. The Board’s proposed rules did not and could not overturn existing state law limiting adoption to singles and married men and women.
“Today, the State Board of Social Services told the people of the Commonwealth, who they represent, that it is okay for agencies licensed by the state to discriminate in making their services available to prospective adoptive and foster care parents, the 1,200 children waiting for a loving forever home and the 6,000 children in foster care,” Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, legislative counsel for Equality Virginia, said in a statement.
“Equality Virginia believes that best interests of the child should be the sole basis for child placement decisions,” she said.
“The majority of Virginians believe in fairness and equality, and it is discouraging to see so many of our legislators unwilling to stand with them for what is right by passing discriminatory legislation.”