After nearly a year of battle and two different votes, in December the Virginia Board of Social Services finalized regulations for Virginia’s faith based child placement agencies that allow those important ministries to continue their work without government interference concerning their faith principles. Earlier proposed regulations would have required these agencies to adopt children to homosexuals regardless of their faith beliefs concerning family. We were able to protect these agencies because of the strong efforts of our allies at the Virginia Catholic Conference and leaders from faith-based agencies across Virginia. Additionally, Governor Bob McDonnell and his administration provided leadership and worked to ensure the threatening regulation failed.
But we can’t trust that every future administration will hold those same values. We must protect these ministries legislatively from any future regulatory changes.
For that reason, we are asking the General Assembly to pass legislation that would protect the conscience rights of faith-based child agencies. Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach) and Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock) have agreed to carry the legislation on behalf of the agencies.
In Virginia, faith-based child placement agencies facilitate the majority of adoptions, assisting hundreds of children and families every year. They also understand that it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted into a loving home with both a mother and a father. Social science makes it abundantly clear that having both a mom and a dad provides children the best chance for success.
Unfortunately, homosexual groups have placed the wants and desires of adults ahead of what is best for children. They pushed for the regulatory changes and unapologetically charge that faith-based groups should be coerced into violating their faith principles simply because they assist the state in adoptions, consequently receiving state funding.
The fact is that no adult has the right to adopt and to suggest otherwise is to misunderstand the purpose of adoption. It is not the mission of the state to provide adults with children; it is the obligation of the state to provide orphaned children with the best opportunity for success, to do what is in the best interest of the child. Preferably and whenever possible, that is a home with both a mother and father.
We will urge the General Assembly to put children first and protect the longstanding rights of faith-based child ministries.