In Virginia, lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation which would allow state adoption agencies to discriminate against an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed law would allow placement agencies to reject a potential parent or child if the person’s “characteristics” conflict with their religious or moral beliefs.
Shin Inouye, a spokesperson for the Obama Administration, says that President Obama believes adoption shouldn’t be “based on discriminatory and irrelevant factors” like sexual orientation and gender identity. “He has long believed that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals based on their interest in offering a loving home…adoptive families come in many forms,” said Inouye.
A federal bill would nullify such legislation in VA if it were passed into law, and other such laws that exist in states like Utah, Arizona and Nebraska. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 1681/S. 1770) would open up more homes for foster youth by restricting federal funding for states employing discriminatory practices in adoption and foster care placements based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the foster youth involved.. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in the House and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the Senate, is currently pending in Congress. When asked if President Obama would support ECDF in order to counter discriminatory adoption and foster care policies, Inouye provided a positive and hopeful reply: “While we have not reviewed Congressman Stark’s legislation, we share [ECDF’s] goals to expand adoption rights and move the dialogue forward on this issue.”