The antigay attorney general of Virginia says a state board doesn't have the authority to approve an antidiscrimination policy for adoptive and foster parents, but LGBT activists beg to differ.
The office of Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (pictured) sent a memo, dated Tuesday, to the State Board of Social Services saying a policy under consideration that would prohibit discrimination against prospective parents on the basis of sexual orientation "does not comport with applicable state law and public policy," The Washington Postreports.
"Therefore the State Board lacks the authority to adopt this proposed language," wrote Allen Wilson, senior assistant attorney general.
This is the opposite of advice given by Cuccinelli's predecessor, William C. Mims, who said in December 2009 that the board had the power to set this policy. His advice came a month after then-governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, proposed the policy.
Mims's advice came at the appropriate time, when the regulation was first put forth, James Parrish, executive director of LGBT rights group Equality Virginia, told The Advocate. Cuccinelli's office, Parrish said, has offered a legal opinion, which the board can accept or reject, "and we believe they should reject it."
Virginia currently allows only married couples and single people, both gay and straight, to adopt or foster children. Some opponents of the nondiscrimination proposal have said it would allow adoption or fostering by unmarried gay and straight couples, but Parrish said this is not the case -- it would merely prevent discrimination against gay individuals.
Conservatives have been lobbying current governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, to weigh in against the proposal. He has until Saturday to do so.