Help Protect Rights of Faith-Based Child Service AgenciesSep 19, 2011
There are less than 24 hours 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. Comments must be posted by tomorrow night at 11:59 pm If you have yet to do so, please contact the 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 adopt children to homosexuals or cease performing their mission of helping children.
Nearly 2,000 people have commented so far.
Our friends at Alliance Defense Fund have submitted exceptional comments that describe the history of adoption and its purpose to give children the best possible outcome – and that has always been to adopt children to a stable, loving home with both a mother and a father.
Austin Nimocks, ADF’s senior legal counsel states, “While the missions of several child-placing agencies are expressly faith-based, that faith basis directly serves Virginia’s public policy in reflecting the universal understanding that, ideally, children need both a mother and a father. Therefore, Virginia should not burden these agencies with any regulations with threaten their ability to find children homes with loving mothers and fathers.” Nimocks goes on to make the case that the history of adoption laws in Virginia and the nation shows that their purpose is to imitate the natural family. It is in the best interest of children to be place with both a mom and a dad.
The proposed regulation would both discriminate against faith-based ministries and deny children their best hope and opportunity.
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 would not help children but place them at risk.
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.
ACTION: Contact the Board of Social Services by following the instructions below and urge them to reject any regulation that discriminates against faith-based child placement agencies.
1) Click here.
2) Click "Enter a comment".
3) Type "Preserve religious freedom" in the subject line.
4) Type and submit your comments.
Talking Points You May Wish 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 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.