The Virginia Board of Social Services
on Wednesday approved 5 to 1 new rules that allow adoption agencies
to discriminate based on sexual orientation, political beliefs and
other characteristics, The
Washington Post reported.
The new regulations, which strip out
protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, age,
disability, gender, family status and political beliefs, take effect
Board chair Bela Sood, the lone
dissenter, told the board that scientific evidence does not support
the claims of some religious groups that heterosexual couples make
better parents than gay couples do.
“The science really doesn't
substantiate the notion that that is the only way children should be
raised” Sood said.
Virginia policy allows married couples
and single folks – regardless of sexual orientation – to adopt a
child. The policy disproportionately affects gay and lesbian couples
because they are unable to legally marry in the state.
Former Democratic Governor Timothy M.
Kaine proposed rules that would prohibit state-licensed adoption
agencies from discrimination based on sexual orientation, disability
or family status in 2009, less than two months before he left office.
Republican Governor Bob McDonnell said
he opposed the change and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, also a
Republican, warned the board that it lacked the authority to imposed
such regulations on private and faith-based agencies.
Christian conservatives opposed to gay
rights also decried the policy; the National Organization for
Marriage (NOM), the nations most vociferous opponent of marriage
it “mandatory gay adoption.”
Opponents of the broader
anti-discriminatory language said the regulations infringed on
“We have a right under federal and
state law to make decisions consistent with our religious beliefs,”
Krystal Thompson, CEO of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, told the