Virginia's social service commissioner claims the state board of social services does not have the authority to approve a proposed regulation to prevent discrimination against prospective adoptive or foster parents on the basis of sexual orientation.
Martin Brown, who was appointed by Republican governor Bob McDonnell, joins another state official, Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, in expressing this view. The regulation was proposed by McDonnell's predecessor, Democrat Tim Kaine, and will be considered by the board Wednesday.
Some opponents of the nondiscrimination proposal say it would allow unmarried couples, both gay and straight, to adopt or foster children; current Virginia law allows only married couples and individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, to adopt. State gay rights activists say the regulation would merely prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals.
"We urge the state board of social services to take action to approve the nondiscrimination rule consistent with their obligation as state officials and public servants to protect all Virginia citizens from unconstitutional discrimination," James Parrish, executive director of LGBT rights group Equality Virginia, told The Washington Post. "No person who wants to become a parent should be forced to leave the state to do so, and no child should be denied a loving home because of such discrimination."