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Va. Senator Proposes Adoption Nondiscrimination Bill

Va. Senator Proposes Adoption Nondiscrimination Bill

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A Virginia state senator has introduced legislation that would prohibit the state from contracting with adoption agencies that discriminate against prospective parents on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Adam Ebbin, a Democrat from Alexandria, in northern Virginia, introduced the bill last week, the Associated Press reports. It also covers other characteristics, including race, religion, sex, family status, national origin, and disability.

The move comes after the state's Board of Social Services last month declined to enact guidelines that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in adoption.

"One major issue is whether charities that receive tax dollars should be able to discriminate," Ebbin said Friday. "Adoption is a public act that goes through state courts, and no government agent should engage in discrimination."

Competing legislation has been introduced in the Senate and House of Delegates that would allow agencies to deny adoption or foster care placements that would go against the agencies' religious tenets, essentially writing the Board of Social Services guidelines into law.

The state has 120 local departments of social services, and there are 77 state-licensed private agencies with which they can contract for adoption and foster care services.

The issue of discrimination by private, religious agencies has come up recently in other states. In Illinois, for instance, the state ended its contracts with Catholic Charities agencies for adoption services when the groups refused to serve gay parents in civil unions, as required by a law that went into effect last year.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.