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  10:13 pm
Commenter: Mark Zehner

Violation of Section 63.2-1734 prohibition on mandating doctrine

I am writing to comment on your proposed changes to the regulations applicable to licensed child placement agencies (“LCPA”), and in particular your proposed 22 VAC 40-131-170 which prohibits LCPAs from discriminating based on sexual orientation.   You claim that this provision simply combines similar existing requirements for foster care and adoption, as set forth in 22 VAC 40 130-200 and 22 VAC 40-130-290.  Yet neither of these prior sections reference sexual orientation.   Moreover, the Virginia Code [Section 63.2-1734] explicitly prohibits you from adopting a specific teaching approach or doctrine in the regulations you enact.  By proposing regulations that treat sexual orientation as an immutable characteristic, akin to race, gender or ethnicity, you are adopting a doctrine of secular humanism, in direct violation of Section 63.2-1734, as well as the Virginia constitution.  See Torcasco v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, n. 11 (1961).  Moreover, this proposal is not only illegal, it is also contrary to public policy.  You are hurting needy children by driving religious foster care and adoption agencies out of business.  With 77 licensed LCPAs, there is no need to force each any every agency into a single, “one size fits all” politically correct straightjacket.   If an agency provides good parents for children, they should be embraced, not rejected by the state of Virginia.  The message of exclusion you will send to children with strong religious identities, as well as to potential foster and adoptive parents is unconscionable and destructive.  Thank you.


Mark Zehner

357 Roberts Ave.

Glenside, PA 19038



CommentID: 17281