.

For Prospective Gay Parents, Adoption Odds About to Get Worse

Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign into law a bill that would allow state-funded private child-placement agencies the right to deny services based on their religious or moral beliefs.

Greg Greeley grew up in a large family and knew that one day he would want to start his own.

"When I decided to start a family, and began reaching out to adopt, I was a single father," said Greeley, who moved to Virginia in 1987. He was in the Air Force and stationed at the Pentagon.

As a single, gay man, Greeley faced many challenges before successfully navigating the state's adoption process.

He started the process in 2001. A year later, after locating a progressive child-placement agency in Virginia, he adopted his first child from Ukraine.

"It was a hard process and I was lucky," said Greeley, who lives in Arlington and now has a second adopted son from El Salvador. "The first question I asked each agency was, 'Do you work with single fathers?' I called a dozen agencies, and only one said yes. It’s amazing to have that many doors shut in your face over and over again. No one asked, 'Would you be a good father? What is your background?' None of it was based on any of those things that would be important to determine is this a good placement for a child. It was just 'No, we don’t work with single fathers.' "

He continued: "It’s a good thing to make sure that people are good parents. But it’s terrible when people won’t even consider you. They won't even look at why, they’ll just tell you no."

The process is about to get much more difficult.

Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to soon sign a bill that would add a 'conscience clause' to state adoption laws that would give private child-placement agencies, even those that receive state funding, the legal right to deny services to prospective parents if they felt the placement would go against their written moral or religious beliefs.

The measure also would prohibit the state from denying grants, contracts or license renewals to agencies that exercise that right.

The bill has drawn sharp criticism from several state legislators, along with gay and lesbian residents and advocates, who view the measure as sanctioning legal discrimination.

"This bill gives license for state funds to be used for religious discrimination," said state Sen. Adam Ebbin in a phone interview. "The question is should agencies that recieve tax payer dollars be able to discriminate?"

Ebbin, who is openly gay, , which approved it last month 22-17.

The Family Foundation, a conservative group that supported the bill, called the approval a 'monumental victory' for religious freedom on its website, saying that it will protect religious groups and allow them to act in accordance with their values. 

Neither the Family Foundation nor the bill's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Jeff McWaters of Virginia Beach, returned phone calls or written requests to discuss their support.

The current structure of Virginia's foster care system makes distinguishing between the public and private spheres almost impossible. In Virginia, a network of 120 public child-placement agencies and 70 private agencies help the state look after the 4,407 children currently being cared for by the state's foster care system.

"Our departments often contract with private agencies for various aspects of the placement process," said Eileen Guertler, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Social Services. "Many private agencies do wonderful work and play a vital role for children in our system."

While many private agencies certainly provide valuable services to some of the state's most vulnerable children, introducing morality into the legal process of adoption will make the already difficult process almost impossible for some parents hoping to adopt.

In a recent Huffington Post op-ed, demographer Gary Gates of the University of California Los Angeles Williams Institute argued that the measure is not in best the interest of Virginia's children.

Highlighting the estimated 1,700 adopted children and 300 foster children being raised by single gay and lesbian parents in Virginia, Gates predicted that the new law would have negative economic and social consequences in this state by barring otherwise-qualified prospective parents from adopting solely on a moral basis.

"I think a lot of people who could make good parents won’t have the opportunity to do that, and it's sad," said Greeley, who shared his story before a Senate subcommittee.

"There are lots of choices you’ll make through life and in many cases you’ll think back and question. For me, the decision to adopt was never one I’ve looked back on."

David March 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Gerald, until such time as you give up your multiple sins of eating shrimp, crabs, clams, oysters, rabbit & pork, dressing in mixed fabrics, & continue to live in same household as women in their period, YOU are in a sinful state & inelegible to point out sins in others. Remove the beam out of thy eye before you point at the mote in other's eye, you whitened sepulchre of hypocrisy. Live up to Deuteronomy 22:11, Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 14: 7 - 10, Leviticus 15:19-30, Leviticus 20:18 & Ezekiel 18:5-6 before you point to anybody else's sins.
Gerald March 18, 2012 at 03:27 AM
David even if what you are saying and I am the sinner to beat all sinners, the Bible still confides that homosexuality, bestiality, adultery, lying, stealing, or any other sin,is a sin. And the only way for us to evade the penalty of death is by accepting Christs death for our sins. And allow Him to cleanse us and recreate us.
David March 18, 2012 at 03:45 AM
The penalties for those sins you list is stoning to death (Numbers 15:32-36, Leviticus 20:2-5, Leviticus 20:27, Leviticus 24:10-16, Deuteronomy 17:2-7, Deuteronomy 13:7-12, Deuteronomy 21,18-21, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 & Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Since you claim to be so scripturally-bound, I presume you mean ALL homosexuals, adulterers, liars, thiefs & bestializers are to be put to death. Well, remember to add anyone who curses, disobedient/willful/petulant children, people with tatoos, believers in astrology, women who are not virgins before their marriage, anyone having premarital sex & anyone who transacts business on the sabbath, because according to Numbers 15:32-36, Leviticus 20:2-5, Leviticus 20:27, Leviticus 24:10-16, Deuteronomy 17:2-7, Deuteronomy 13:7-12, Deuteronomy 21,18-21, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 & Deuteronomy 22:23-24 that is their penalty too. Ditto to wearers of mixed fabrics, eaters of shrimp, crabs, clams, oysters, rabbit & pork such as yourself!
Gerald March 18, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I'm afraid David that the penalty that you are talking about, is a slap on the wrist compared to the fate that awaits all those who chose to ignore God's offer of forgiveness. It's the loss of eternal life. The loss of life in this world when we go to the grave, right now means only a sleep. A sleep the ends at the end of time for this earth when our soon returning King breaks through the clouds and wakes up the dead with the shout of the Archangel when the dead in Christ shall rise first. But then later after the 1000 years of devastation of this earth when Christ awakens all those who refused His offer of forgiveness, and they finally see how they refused His death for their sins and completely blown off His offer of eternal life. Only to be tossed into the lake of fire, for a time and finally to be erased from existence for all eternity. No, the first death before Christ comes back is nothing compared to the one that awaits those who awakens after the 1000 years. But it's still not too late for us today. All we have to do is accept Christ's death in place of ours. Ask Him today and invite anyone else that would go to Him.
David March 18, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Gerald, the question remains, do you agree with scripture that ALL homosexuals, adulterers, liars, thiefs, bestializers, anyone who curses, disobedient/willful/petulant children, people with tatoos, believers in astrology, women who are not virgins before their marriage, anyone having premarital sex, anyone who transacts business on the sabbath, wearers of mixed fabrics, eaters of shrimp, crabs, clams, oysters, rabbit & pork will be stoned to death?

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »