Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has advised the State Board of Social Services it does not have the authority to change regulations that would permit gay couples to adopt.
In a memo sent to the agency this week, Cuccinelli’s office said that proposed rules that would require private and faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to allow gay parents to adopt children “does not comport with applicable state law and public policy,” according to the Washington Post.
“The State Board lacks the authority to adopt this proposed language,” wrote Allen Wilson, senior assistant attorney general to the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Currently, only married couples and single men and women — regardless of sexual orientation — can adopt in Virginia. But, gay singles and unmarried couples do not have access to adoption agencies run by religious groups.
The proposal would mandate that gay singles and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups to adopt children.
In December 2009, the attorney general’s office, then headed by Bill Mims, a former Republican legislator and now a state Supreme Court justice, advised that the state board had the authority to repeal the existing regulation and put into place the new one.
Cuccinelli’s office is now revising and amending that advice.
The proposal that would change regulations will be considered by the board as early as next week.
Gov. Robert McDonnell has repeatedly said that he opposes the regulations because, he believes, faith-based organizations should be able to make their own policies.