Virginia‘s Gov. Robert McDonnell is considering whether to undo regulations that would allow gay couples to adopt children in Virginia through any state-licensed agency, private or religious.
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, according to the governor’s office, would mandate that gay singles and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to adopt children.
“I don’t think we ought to force Catholic Charities to make that part of their policy or other similar situated groups,’’ McDonnell said.
“Many of our adoption agencies are faith-based groups that ought to be able to establish what their own policies are. Current regulations that say you can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin I think are proper. I think previous efforts to expand that to a number of other classes are going to have very strict scrutiny to make sure that we don’t inhibit the very fine work some faith-based organizations are doing.”
The change in regulations were set in motion by former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in November 2009.
McDonnell, a Republican, has until April 16 to make his recommendation to the State Board of Social Services, a nine-member panel in which all but four members are holdovers from Kaine’s administration.