Tell your state senator: Discrimination has no place in Virginia adoptions

The Virginia Senate will likely soon vote on House Bill 189, a measure which will add a "religious refusal" clause to Virginia’s child placement laws. This clause would allow state-funded private adoption agencies to discriminate in the placement of children based on the agencies' "written religious or moral convictions or policies."

By codifying this exemption for "religious or moral convictions," the Virginia General Assembly is providing a license for private adoption agencies to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against their own citizens. As written, the bill would allow private agencies to deny the placement of children with qualified adoptive parents on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status or the agencies' written religious or moral policies.

This is not, as advocates of this bill have said, a question of religious liberty for these groups. Rather, it would allow for discrimination on loosely defined “moral” grounds by all private adoption agencies, and would force Virginia taxpayers to support agencies which treat their fellow citizens unfairly and unjustly.

True religious liberty requires that individuals are free to practice their religious beliefs without interference from their government. It does not mean that faith-based organizations which receive public funding to provide adoption services are free from regulations that protect citizens from discrimination and which help to ensure the best interests of the approximately 1,300 children waiting to be adopted in Virginia.

Please tell your state senator to not support HB 189 in its current form or in any other form which allows publicly funded organizations to discriminate on the basis of religious belief.