Only One Week Left: Help Protect Rights Of Faith Based Child Service Agencies!

There is a lot going on right now in Virginia: An ever earlier presidential race, an earlier than ever U.S. Senate campaign, a vitally important State Senate election only five weeks form now, a phenomenal annual gala this Saturday, not to mention spectacular early fall weather in which to experience great Virginia festivals. But there's something vitally important to add to the check list that won't take long and which you can do from the comfort of your home computer.

There is only one week left in the 30 day re-opened public comment period regarding a proposal that would allow the government to discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals despite their deeply held faith beliefs and principles. This not only is discrimination, it violates conscience protections and religious liberty.

More than 1,000 people have commented so far. Have you?

If you have yet to do so, please contact the Virginia Board of Social Services and urge them to reject the proposed regulation that would discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to put children up for adoption to homosexual couples — or cease to perform their mission of helping children.

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. This compares to the average of less than two dozen comments typically received for any proposed new regulations!

In Virginia, individual homosexuals already may 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. In fact, it would decrease adoptions 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 birth mothers and consequently adoption agencies. Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birth mother 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 birth mothers.

Please contact the Board of Social Services by following the instructions below and urge it to reject any regulation that discriminates against faith-based child placement agencies.

» Click here.

» Click "Enter a comment."

» Type "Preserve religious freedom" in the subject line.

» Type and submit your comments.

Points to consider incorporating into your comments:

» 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 birth parents 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.