Equality Virginia, a leading gay rights group, sent out an email late Monday night blasting Del. Bob Marshall for trying to derail a proposal to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered people who want to adopt children.
“Bob Marshall is at it again’’ the email proclaims.
As we reported Tuesday, Marshall (R-Prince William) is lobbying Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to recommend to the State Board of Social Services kill a proposal that he says would for the first time allow gay couples to adopt children in Virginia.
But Equality Virginia disputes that the proposed regulations would do anything more than allow a person who seeks to adopt to do so without fear of discrimination. They are asking the board and McDonnell to allow the regulations to move forward.
“A massive email campaign by organizations that have opposed every regulatory and legislative effort to afford gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Virginians the basic human right to live, work and raise their children in the Commonwealth free from discrimination resulted in a flurry of comments...opposing the non-discrimination provision included in the proposed rules,’’ the group wrote in its email.
Currently, only married couple and single men and women — regardless of sexual orientation — can adopt in Virginia.
Marshall, who has worked in the past to ban gay marriage and gay adoption in the state, said the proposal would mandate that gay singles and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to adopt children. But Equality Virginia says the law would not change.
Marshall said he immediately notified the governor’s office last week when he first heard about the proposal. He said McDonnell should have taken action if he knew the regulations were moving forward for more than year since they were recommended by former Democratic governor Tim Kaine’s administration.
He said McDonnell should have sent down an amendment to the state budget that would have restricted money from being spent to implement adoptions by same sex couples.
Eric Finkbeiner, McDonnell’s policy director, said the administration has known about the regulations for the past year but waited to act because the governor generally weighs in after the public comment period ends.
But Marshall said, “It’s a day late and a dollar short.’’
McDonnell must make his recommendation to the State Board of Social Services, a nine-member panel on which all but four members are holdovers from his Democratic predecessor, by April 16.
Finkbeiner said that the governor was considering his options but in general “supports and encourages” adoption of children by married couples and single parents.