Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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10/11/11  8:25 pm
Commenter: Marilyn Gadomski, Liberty University

Preserve religious freedom

         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.

·         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.


 Please 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 helpgin children.


The Virginia Board of Social Services voted last month to allow for more public comment on the proposal under the threat of costly litigation from the ACLU and Equality Virginia.  In April, the Board rejected the discriminatory proposal, but homosexual activist groups and the ACLU threatened to sue if more public comment was not allowed.


In April, the Board voted 7-2 to adopt new regulations for Virginia’s private adoption services.  The regulations approved did not include a proposal that would have discriminated against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals.  Despite having nearly two years to make their case through the regulatory process, organizations like Equality Virginia and the ACLU claimed that the Board’s decision to not include the discriminatory language was done so without adequate information.


After losing the vote in April, Equality Virginia and the ACLU threatened to sue if they did not get an additional public comment period.  During the initial public comment time, more than 1,000 Virginians commented on the proposed regulations, with only around 30 in favor.  On average, proposed regulations receive less than two dozen comments. 


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.


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.

CommentID: 20855