Bob Marshall chooses personal prejudice over children. Is anyone surprised?

It’s not enough for Bob Marshall that same sex couples have to move outside the state temporarily in order for both to be adoptive parents – in Virginia, second parent adoption or adoption by unmarried couples is illegal, so we have families in which one parent is literally a legal stranger to their own child. Think about what that means for a child’s security, if something were to happen to his or her legally recognized parent.

In 2005, Bob Marshall shared the embarrassment with Dick Black of having “Adoption: Prohibited if Homosexual” basically laughed out of the Senate after Black flew the disgraced Paul Cameron in as an “expert witness.” That wouldn’t have been enough, either – and the truth is that nothing will ever be enough for this obsessive oddball, short of our complete elimination. As he let slip to the Leesburg Today back in 2006, “This is a springboard. If they get this [defeat of the Marshall-Newman anti-marriage amendment], they are getting other things.” By “other things,” he refers to the freedom to live our lives with the same safety and security as everyone else. That amendment never had anything to do with marriage. Its purpose, as I explained here, was simply to create more danger for gay and lesbian couples, to discourage us from living openly and visibly – because it’s exactly that visibility that is driving the rapid shifts in public opinion toward support for equality.

It’s that same purpose that leads Mr. Marshall to have a hissy fit about this revision to the Virginia Department of Social Services regulations:

B. The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to:

1. Delay or deny a child’s placement; or

2. Deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent.

That’s it. That’s the language in the revised “Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child-Placing Agencies” that has professional bigot Marshall in a whirl. In other words, if an adoption agency wants to be licensed in Virginia, they are prohibited from using any criteria for child placement other than the best interests of the child, period. Mormon-run agencies can’t only place children with Mormon families, for example – which was an actual complaint posted on the virginia.gov site. It ought to be obvious, such shocking demands for special rights notwithstanding, that the “best interest of the child” standard is basic and unquestionable. The standard is not only obviously correct, it has a long history of being upheld in court. In fact, these revised regulations have been in the works for over a year, with the approval of the Attorney General, the current Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the current Governor’s Office. Our anti-gay activist Attorney General couldn’t even pretend that this standard conflicts in any way with Virginia law. That’s how non-controversial this is.

But Marshall wants adoption agencies to be free to use criteria other than the best interests of the child. He wants adults to be able to insert their own selfish personal prejudices and phobias into the process, and actually prevent the placement of children into loving homes. As the Salon author puts it, “it should go without saying that if you would rather stop placing children in homes than allow a loving same-sex couple to adopt than you are seriously a detestable person.” This is truly reaching for the moral low ground.

Marshall and others who, like him, put their desire to harm GLBT people above even the welfare of children, have launched a last-minute campaign to bully the Governor into an irrational response that would wound his image as a “moderate” Republican. He needs to hear from the rational public now. I’m providing below information from Equality Virginia:

Equality Virginia has written to the Chair of the State Board of Social Services (with a copy to the Governor) asking that the proposed rules be published in final form without any change. The letter is available here.

It is vitally important that you make your voice heard as well. Tell the Chair and the Governor that you want the regulations implemented as proposed without changes to the nondiscrimination provision that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Governor’s contact information is available at www.governor.virginia.gov/contact.cfm

The contact information for the Chair and Members of the State Board of Social Services is here: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/geninfo/state_board/contacts.cgi

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