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Va. Board Extends Comment Period on Adoption Regs

Va. Board Extends Comment Period on Adoption Regs


A Virginia state board that oversees adoption regulations is extending the time for public comment on new antidiscrimination language -- but it remains to be seen whether that will result in a gay-inclusive policy.

The State Board of Social Services agreed Wednesday to add 30 days to the public comment period, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports. The extension begins next month and will end October 12, about a week before the board meets again.

Gay rights supporters were encouraged by the extension, but it may have no effect in the long run, according to the newspaper, which says it "may do little more than delay the approval of the regulations, which govern private child placement agencies licensed by the state."

In April, after opposition arose from social conservatives, the board removed language from pending regulations that would have prohibited discrimination against prospective adoptive and foster parents on the basis of sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, disability, political beliefs, and family status. Current law prohibits discrimination based on race or religion, which conservative Republican governor Bob McDonnell says is sufficient, and allows married couples and single people, regardless of sexual orientation, to become adoptive or foster parents.

Gay rights group Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union say expanded antidiscrimination protections will increase the pool of prospective parents and therefore allow more children to be placed in good homes. Antigay groups say such regulations would discriminate against faith-based child welfare agencies, which would be going against their religious beliefs in placing children with gay couples.

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