Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Social Services
State Board of Social Services
Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child-Placing Agencies [22 VAC 40 ‑ 131]
Action Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 4/1/2011
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4/1/11  9:24 pm
Commenter: Laura Hamilton

Please change proposed Section 22VAC40-131-170(B)

I object to Section 22VAC40-131-170(B) of the proposed regulations which prohibits private foster/adoption agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, for two reasons.  First, to the extent that it may require a private agency to place a child with a same sex couple, it contravenes Virginia law, which provides that only married couples or unmarried individuals are eligible to adopt a child in Virginia.  Va. Code § 63.2-1225.  (The current regulations implicitly recognize that an unmarried couple is not eligible to foster parent by requiring that a private agency worker actually see the marriage license of a couple applying to be foster parents.  See 22VAC40-130-270.)  Same sex marriages are not valid in Virginia.  Article 15-A of the Virginia Constitution provides that “only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.”  Therefore, Virginia law does not allow same sex couples to adopt in Virginia, and the proposed regulation conflicts with the law.

Second, the requirement that private agencies consider placement of a child with a homosexual individual, will put many faith-based adoption agencies in the untenable position of having to choose between violating a fundamental tenet of their faith or to stop providing services in our Commonwealth.  This violates the religious freedom of those organizations and does our Commonwealth a great disservice.  Our General Assembly has expressly found that faith-based . . . organizations make significant contributions to the welfare of our society and [that] . . .  special efforts to increase utilization of faith-based . . . organizations will enhance the Commonwealth's ability to carry out human welfare programs. § 63.2-703.  The proposed Section 22VAC40-131-170(B) will have precisely the opposite effect.  

CommentID: 17209