I support the State Board of Social Services' recently revised regulations for licensed child-placing agencies. The revised, Board-approved regulations include a provision that states: "The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin to: (1) Delay or deny a child's placement; or (2) Deny an individual the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent."
On April 20, the State Board of Social Services correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based agencies to continue their great work without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith.
Faith-based 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. This right must be respected and preserved.
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 law would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. 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.
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