On April 20, the State Board of Social Services correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based child placement agencies to continue their great work of helping children and families without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith. It is my strong belief that this should continue to be upheld, without wavering to minority influence on the family unit. In essence, these rights must be respected and upheld that would continue to allow others, like myself, to work with agencies that uphold my standards and beliefs.
As a parent who has adopted a child, I understand the heart ache of desperately wanting a child to love as well as the joy of that desperation becoming a reality. I believe as an adoptive parent, it is my right to work with an organization that upholds my personal religious convictions, that it truly is in the best interest of a child to be placed with both a mom and a dad. The proposed regulation would both discriminate against faith-based ministries as well as deny children their best hope and opportunity.
I know from first had experience that at a time when a couple is emotional challenged in pursuit of growing a family, it would be very wrong to force a couple to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation. This would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia.
Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwealth and our country. Austin Nimock, of ADF Legal Counsel, states that many faith based agencies “directly serve Virginia’s public policy in reflecting the universal understanding that, ideally, children need both a mother and a father. Therefore, Virginia should not burden these agencies with any regulations with threaten their ability to find children homes with loving mothers and fathers.” This is my belief, and I believe it would be unconstitutional to force me to work alongside someone who does not uphold my convictions.