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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3/31/11  11:03 am
Commenter: Victoria Cobb, President, The Family Foundation

Response to Proposed Adoption Standards

FROM: Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation

DATE: March 31, 2011

RE: Response to Proposed Adoption Standards

Section 22VAC40-131-170(B) of the proposed regulations states, “The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to: delay or deny a child’s placement; or deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent.”

This proposal goes far beyond any policy in the Virginia Code.  The Virginia Code clearly details who is eligible to adopt.  In § 63.2-1201.1, it plainly states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any child to have more than two living parents by birth or adoption, who have legal rights and obligations in respect to the child, in the form of one father and one mother.”  Furthermore, in § 63.2-1225, the Code states, “In determining the appropriate home in which to place a child for adoption, a married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.”  There is no mistaking intent: in Virginia, only married couples (one mother and one father, as decided by Virginia’s Marriage Amendment to the Constitution) or single individuals can adopt a child.  The current proposal, which includes prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, stands in direct opposition to the confines of the Code. 

Nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, whether enshrined in law or implemented through internal constructs, and regardless of their legal weight, highlight the inevitable and unavoidable clash between the unalienable fundamental right of religious liberty and the postmodern era of sexual freedom. While one may agree or disagree with the actions of individuals or private organizations that express their faith in these ways, their fundamental right to do so is now at risk.

This proposed standard places undue restrictions on birthmothers and consequently adoption agencies.  Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birthmother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly.  Accordingly, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency’s beliefs or the beliefs of their birthmothers.

This proposal, which tramples religious liberty, is a significant overreach through regulation into unchartered waters prohibited by Virginia Code and Constitution.  I respectfully ask the State Board of Social Services and Department of Social Services to rescind this section of proposed regulations.  Thank you for your consideration.

CommentID: 16356