State Board of Social Services voted 7 to 2 against new proposed regulations that would have added protections against bias during the screening process for sexual orientation, gender, age, religion, political beliefs, disability and family status.
The vote came after a hard push for the exact opposite by faith-based organizations and adoption agencies to allow them to include moral and religious beliefs in their screening process for potential parents.
From the Washington Post:
The board, which has five Democratic appointees, voted after receiving advice last week from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and Social Services CommissionerMartin Brown, an appointee of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s (R). All three opposed the proposed changes.
Cuccinelli’s office told members in a memo that the proposal “does not comport with applicable state law and public policy” and that the board “lacks the authority to adopt this proposed language.”
Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said advice in the 2009 memorandum made by his predecessor, William C. Mims was “incorrect”.
“In our 2009 review of the 77 pages of proposed adoption regulations, we missed the fact that one line in those regulations would have created additional protected classes of citizens in Virginia, which is beyond the scope of the agency,”.
Other adoption regulations that were approved are to be reviewed by Bill Hazel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources and must be signed off by McDonnell, he Department of Planning and Budget. McDonnell has gone on record opposing the changes, he believes faith-based organizations should be able to make their own policies.
Spokesman Jeff Caldwell for McDonnell said “Today’s vote by the board will ensure that Virginia remains in compliance with federal law while allowing private and faith-based organizations to continue providing vital adoption services for the large number of children who need to be placed in safe, loving homes,”.
Maulden, a human resource manager at a parking lot company in the district said “I think it’s sad — it’s very sad… At the end of the day, it’s about the children. And there are children who aren’t being put in wonderful homes.”