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.
In 2011, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into effect adoption legislation containing a controversial section called a “conscience clause.” The conscience clause – which affects a number of issues in state laws – allows state funded adoption agencies to deny adoptions based on religious or moral beliefs, including rejecting possible parents because of their sexual orientation. [...]