State Senate vote codifies adoption discrimination

The State Senate on Tuesday passed House Bill 189, which Virginia Democrats say will set the Commonwealth backwards by codifying and expanding the ability of state-funded child-placing agencies to discriminate against gay and lesbian Virginians seeking to adopt.

“We have been talking about conscience. But whose conscience are we talking about? My conscience is offended whenever the state sponsors discrimination. My conscience is offended when we discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. My conscience is offended when we deny a child a loving home,” Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said.

“This bill always has been about denying LGBT Virginians the ability to form loving families and denying children loving homes,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria). “This bill will ensure that discrimination occurs. It is the first step toward outlawing adoption by gay and lesbian Virginians. And this bill will limit opportunities for the 1,300 kids waiting for placement right now in the Commonwealth.”

Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) said, “This bill codifies discrimination and reflects the wrong priorities. When placing a child, the only factor should be what is best for the child. Each and every one of those children should know that we are doing everything we can to find them a stable and loving home. The placing agency’s views — religious or otherwise — should not be a factor. Virginia ranks 49th in the nation when it comes to finding children permanent homes. We need to be doing more to find those children a good and stable home, not authorizing agencies to limit children’s placement options.”

Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) said, “This bill is far reaching: not only will prospective LGBT parents will be affected, but any reason that a private agency comes up with could be used to discriminate against prospective parents. Agencies could discriminate against single parents, working mothers, or on the basis of religion. This bill allows the state to condone discrimination.”


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