HRC Blog

Working to Protect Virginia’s LGBT Families

The following post comes from HRC Communications Intern Matt Arnstine:

With all the positive news coming out of states such as Maryland and Washington State, equality supporters need not forget that there are still state governments that are behind the times.  Last year, the Virginia State Board of Social Services voted twice to strip legal protections that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, disability, political beliefs and family status from final rules governing licensed adoption and foster care agencies.

HRC has worked with Equality Virginia and openly gay State Senator Adam Ebbin on SB 569, which along with SB 647, introduced by Sen. Donald McEachin, would ban discrimination by adoption and foster care agencies that contract with the state or receive state funding.  On Wednesday, the Senate Subcommittee on Rehabilitation and Social Services voted down State Senator Ebbin’s bill.   

HRC has spoken out in opposition of the Virginia State Board of Social Services decision, and is disturbed by reports that the Virginia House of Delegates will vote today on final passage on Senate Bill 349, which will authorize licensed, state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate in making adoption and foster care services available to children and prospective parents.  According to the Washington Blade, State Senator Ebbin said, “The issue is simple –whether or not state dollars should be used or taxpayers’ funds should be used to fund discrimination in adoption and foster care.”

Adoption agencies receiving state funding shouldn’t be able to discriminate based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a time when so many children need a loving, stable home, kids shouldn’t become the political pawns of anti-LGBT legislators. Below is a video of Ellen Kahn, Director of HRC’s Family Project, eloquently debating the issue last year against anti-gay Delegate Bob Marshall:

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