Dear Sir or Madam,
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.
Faith-based child placement agencies have a right, under federal and state law, to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs, including their beliefs about marriage and family life. I firmly believe that this right must be respected and preserved.
For centuries it has been clear that children benefit from being placed in situations that reflect the natural family, with a mother and a father.
Many birthparents and prospective adoptive parents hold these beliefs as well, and they have every right to work with agencies that share their values.
Forcing agencies and individuals to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. I also think it would encumber the adoption process and reduce the number of adoptions. Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwealth and our country.
Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities. They must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.
Please take all of my concerns into consideration. Thank you for your time.