I am happy to see that the State Board of Social Services has correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based agencies to continue their great work without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith. Often, birthparents and prospective adoptive parents hold these same beliefs and they have every right to work with these agencies that share their values. For those that do not share the same values, there are already in place, other agencies that they may work through.
In addition, Faith-based agencies have a right, under federal and state laws, to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs, including their beliefs about marriage and family life. This basic right, covered in the Bills of Rights must be respected and preserved. If these agencies, as well as the individuals, were forced to choose between following their own values or following the law, that removed relgious belief rights, would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwelath as well as our country and should never be taken for granted nor removed from our residents.
Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities and to individuals. They must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.