As a citizen of Virginia, I am writing on behalf of those agencies wishing to run a faith-based child placement agency and asking that the right to preserve religious freedom be upheld. I urge the Board of Social Services to reject the proposed regulation that would discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals or cease performing their mission of helping children.
Please consider these points:
· 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. This right must be respected and preserved.
· 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. 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.
Thank you for your time.