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  11:35 am
Commenter: Fr. Edward Horkan

protection of religious liberty and family values

The proposed regulation would forbid any adoption agency from "discriminating" against people due to sexual orientation or family status.  Most cultures today, and virtually every culture in human history has recognized the common sense that children are better off with both a father and a mother, providing them with a masculine and feminine perspective in their upbrining.  Furthermore, the complemetarity of masculinity and femininity is the foundation of married life, helping both the couple and any children they have experience the fullness of humanity; Virginia law recognizes such common sense in limiting marriage to one man and one woman.  Certainly, there are single mothers and fathers who heroically try to raise children without a spouse, but they can testify that it is especially difficult to do so.  That recognition is the basis behind such groups as Big Brothers and Big Sisters that try to provide for a father or mother figure when one is absent.  These regulations not only ignore such common sense, but even forbid adoption agencies from using it.  They would also of course forbid any religious organization, or any organization with family values, from being in the adoption business without violating their consciences.  That would be a violation of religious liberties in a state that has long prided itself on supporting such liberties, dating from the adoption of the Virginia Statute on Religious Liberties before the First Amendment; in fact, on Thomas Jefferson's gravestone is listed the three accomplishments of which he was most proud: author of the Declaration of Independance and of the Virginia Statute on Religious Liberties, and founder of the University of Virginia.  It would also reduce the adoption services available to children by forcing out agencies that have been very helpful.

     To denounce the distinction between active heterosexuals and active homosexuals or between married and single people as "discrimination" ignores the fact that we draw such distinctions all the time.  By attaching any legal consequences to marriage (e.g., taxation, insurance and inheritance benefits, spousal support obligation) the law itself draws a distinction between married and single people.  By limiting marriage to a man and a woman the law likewise draws a distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality.  Sports, housing and the like also separate men and women drawing distinctions between them.  Some distinctions are irrational, such as limiting adoption to a race or national origin are irrational for these purposes.  But you yourself recognize that other distinctions, such as emotional status, the ability to support children economically, the ability to maintain a clean home, and backgrounds make a difference.  As stated above, it does make a difference whether a child has a mother and a father.  And it does make a difference to anyone with values whether the child's parents will support them.  Even if you do not agree, you should at least recognize that most parents and many in the adoption field do.  For these reasons, this proposed regulation is itself irrational and oppressive to adoption agencies, parents and children.

CommentID: 16364