A Virginia board has agreed to extend
the public comment period on keeping a policy that bans gay couples
from becoming adoptive and foster parents, The
In April, the State Board of Social
Services voted 7 to 2 in favor of keeping its current policy that
only 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 marry in
the state. The proposed policy change would have prohibited private
adoption agencies from discrimination based on sexual orientation,
disability or family status.
On Wednesday, at the request of the gay
rights group Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), the board agreed to extend the public comment period for 30
days. The new comment period ends October 12.
Former Democratic Governor Timothy M.
Kaine had proposed the policy changes in 2009, less than two months
before he left office.
But Republican Governor Bob McDonnell
has said he opposes the changes.
“We want to have all of our adoption
agencies, particularly those that are faith-based agencies …. to be
free to do the great work they're doing without having additional
government mandates or requirements,” McDonnell told the
Virginia-Pilot. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also weighed
in on the issue, saying banning anti-gay discrimination would violate
Social conservatives decried the
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) called it “mandatory gay
Victoria Cobb, president of Family
Foundation, said in a statement that the group hoped the board would
based its decision “on what is in the best interest of children and
not on the personal desires of adults.”
“The fact is that the discriminatory
regulations they propose would prevent hundreds of children from
being placed in loving homes,” she said.