FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Steve Majors | Communications Director
FAMILY EQUALITY COUNCIL COMMENTS ON ANTI-FAMILY ADOPTION BILLS
Washington, DC – (Feb. 7, 2012) – Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports and represents the two million children with parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), issued the following statement today regarding legislation passed by the Virginia House of Delegates and a companion bill soon to be considered by the Virginia Senate.
HB 189 and SB 349 would authorize licensed, state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate in making services available to children and prospective parents by allowing those agencies to deny placing a child with a qualified family if a proposed placement violates the agency’s religious or moral convictions or policies.
“The proposed pieces of legislation are at their heart, anti-family,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “They make sweeping changes in current law that would place the private religious or moral beliefs of a few organizations ahead of the best interests of the most vulnerable children in Virginia. These organizations mistakenly believe their foster care and adoption services, on behalf of more than 5,300 children in Virginia’s foster care system, are a private religious activity instead of a public service they provide as agents of the state. “
Chrisler also praised the Obama Administration for issuing a statement earlier today that said the President believes “we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals based on their interest in offering a loving home, not based on discriminatory and irrelevant factors.” The statement came in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade.
“President Obama has long believed that every child deserves a loving family and that all qualified parents who can provide a stable family should be considered and not face discrimination,” said Chrisler. “We join with the President in expressing support for the goals of the federal Every Child Deserves Family Act so that our country can open up every available home to the 408,000 children in foster care.”
The Family Equality Council has called on fair-minded Virginia residents to call their Senators and demand they oppose SB 349 on the following grounds. If enacted, the legislation could:
– Permit a Jewish adoption agency to refuse placing a medically needy child into a Catholic home of medical professionals.
– Permit an agency whose religious beliefs permit corporal punishment to require families to discipline children accordingly.
– Permit a state-contracted private adoption agency to refuse to place a child into a home that follows more than one religious belief.
– Deny a loving aunt from adopting her nephew, simply because she is divorced or single.
– Deny a male relative from raising a child if the agency believes that women should be the primary caregiver.
– Deny a family member from caring for a child if the agency prefers a stranger’s religion or sexual orientation.