Board of Social Services neglecting their duties

Illustration by Hannah Swann

Katherine Johnson

Illustration by Hannah Swann

Virginia’s Board of Social Services recently made the decision to push back a briefing that concerned a ban on adoption agencies from discrimination based on sexual orientation to December.

Originally, the board was scheduled to hear the briefing in October, but the change in date makes it seem as if the state is trying to avoid the issue of allowing gay couples to adopt.

It’s clear that this is a case of people playing politics for self-interest.

The board is made up of members selected by Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, whose members are of similar political background. Their preconceived conservative leanings are affecting their decision before even hearing the briefing. Those who sit on the board should remember to fulfill their duties in providing homes to children, rather than the Governor’s wishes or their personal beliefs.

This is not an issue that the board can continue to ignore. According to the Family Equality Council, 1,300 kids in Virginia are eligible for adoption. If there’s a loving, permanent home available to these children, shouldn’t they be given it regardless of the sexual orientation of the adopter?

Children in the system are the ones being hurt should the board not reconsider the ban on gay couples adopting children. As it is, there’s a shortage of heterosexual families willing to take in foster care children or wanting to adopt.

The debate surrounding this issue is based largely on religion. Board members should not factor this into their decision due to the separation of church and state. Some faith-based adoption agencies, such as the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, claim that by letting a gay couple adopt they’re going against their “consciences and creeds.” By opening adoptions up to a larger number of people, however, the children in the system clearly benefit.

Can anyone reasonably argue that the parenting of a gay couple isn’t as good as that of a couple in a “traditional marriage”? In a society where divorce, separation and single parenting are common, kids should be placed in a stable, loving home. If the best candidate happens to be a gay couple, so be it.

Kids who are placed in a loving home with a stable lifestyle are going to excel and adjust regardless of their new family’s sexual orientation. Since it’s the department’s goal to “help them live their best lives,” they should pursue this and leave sexual orientation out of the decision. All candidates should be given equal consideration when placing a child in a home and should be selected based on the best qualifications. The welfare of the child should be the state’s number-one priority, while politics should be left out.

Last year, nearly 2,500 children were adopted; without the ban, that number could be doubled. At the end of the day, those on the Board of Social Services and the faith-based organizations that support the current ban don’t know what it’s like to live without a family. Think about the children.

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