In a monumental victory for religious liberty the state Senate on Thursday passed SB 349, a bill that protects private child placement agencies in Virginia from being forced to violate their faith principles when placing children. The Senate passed the legislation 22-18. The House passed an identical bill last week.
Patroned by Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach), the bill protects the organizations and agencies that facilitate the majority of child placements in Virginia, helping hundreds of children and families every year. The bill was necessitated after an effort by homosexual rights groups and former Governor Tim Kaine to coerce faith-based agencies into adopting children to homosexual individuals regardless of those agencies faith principles.
During two days of debate on the Senate floor, liberals in the state Senate made wild accusations about the bill, even suggesting that it puts children in Virginia in danger! Mostly, they attacked the faith principles of faith-based organizations and their beliefs regarding families, calling it “discriminatory” and arguing that, because those agencies follow their faith, they shouldn’t be allowed to partner with the state in providing homes for kids. These agencies, however, abide by all federal and state discrimination laws, and this bill doesn’t change that.
In polling we released earlier this session, 54 percent of Virginians oppose efforts to force these important ministries to act against their beliefs.
Efforts to punish faith-based agencies because of their views on family would not increase the number of children adopted, it would decrease it by forcing the majority of private child placement agencies, which are sectarian, to cease fulfilling their mission or violate their faith. Because the vast majority of adoptions in Virginia are facilitated by faith-based agencies, forcing them to abandon their missions would reduce the hope for hundreds of children in need of adoption.
You can see how your Senator voted by clicking here.