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9/23/11  4:12 pm
Commenter: Chris Freund, The Family Foundation of Virginia

Preserve Religious Freedom
 

I write in support of 22 VAC 40-131-170B as approved by the Virginia Board of Social Services on April 20 of this year.  The Board’s decision on April 20 empowers all child placement agencies, including those that are faith-based, to continue providing services to children and families in Virginia without burdensome governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith.  

Prior to that vote, The Family Foundation objected to a proposal that would have added unnecessary language to the non-discrimination clause of the regulations, a proposal that went far beyond any policy in the Virginia Code or what is required by Federal law.  It would also have infringed on the religious liberty of faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to choose between violating their faith or continuing their mission to serve children and families.

In Virginia, individual homosexuals can already adopt and there are public and private agencies that facilitate those adoptions.  Adding discriminatory language to the regulations would not increase the number of children being adopted into homes, it would decrease it by forcing the majority of private child placement agencies, which are sectarian, to cease fulfilling their mission or violate their faith.  The vast majority of adoptions in Virginia are facilitated by faith-based agencies.  Forcing them to abandon their missions would reduce the hope for hundreds of children in need of adoption.

This proposed regulation also places undue restrictions on birthmothers and consequently adoption agencies.  Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birthmother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly.  Consequently, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency’s beliefs or the beliefs of their birthmothers.

This proposal, which tramples religious liberty, is a significant overreach through regulation into unchartered waters.  I respectfully ask the State Board of Social Services and Department of Social Services maintain the regulations adopted at the April 20th meeting.  Thank you for your consideration.

CommentID: 18905