The Virginia State Board of Social Services recently voted to extend the public comment period before voting on new state adoption standards.
Revised adoption regulations were proposed two years ago, and earlier this year were approved by Governor Bob McDonnell's office and the state attorney general. However, some faith-based adoption agencies and other socially conservative action groups protested to the social services board about non-discrimination language in the regulations. These groups argued such language would force them to either compromise their beliefs by granting adoptions to gay couples or shut down their adoption programs.
The board eliminated the prohibitions against considering prospective parents' gender, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and family status in making child placement decisions.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups countered that stripping the discrimination protections will disqualify worthy parents from adopting.
Due to the extended comment period, the board will now vote on the regulations in October.
Similar legal battles are being fought in other states. An Illinois judge recently ruled against four Catholic charities that said their religious freedom was compromised when the state denied them foster care contracts for refusing to place children with same-sex couples, the Windy City Times reports.