Well, they did it anyway.
Some folks, good folks, tried to point out that SB 349 had become a monstrosity–a bad bill being made worse through the legislative process–but there was no listening. The Senate passed it today, 22-18 (two Democrats joined 20 Republicans). Governor McDonnell will sign it.
The result: children currently in Virginia’s foster care system as well as those who will become part of it–wards of the state–now will have fewer options for adoption. Good homes will be denied to youngsters who deserve to live in families who want them–simply because that home is led by two men or two women. And youth who are gay or lesbian or transgender or bisexual, or who even exhibit behaviors that some will interpret as being “that way,” won’t get placed anywhere–just because of the beliefs of some groups (mostly religious groups, but under this new law practicing this sort of discrimination will be permitted by others as well).
What do we do in the face of this raw determination to punish children, to deny to the very most
vulnerable among us the protection and nurture of true family life? Of course, many foster homes are maintained by really good people, people who love and care for their charges–but it is not the same. All children deserve loving, permanent homes and families. And this new law applies to foster care as well as adoption. I worry that we will run out of foster homes–then what?
What are we to do? Fight on, of course. Keep talking, keep organizing, keep changing hearts and minds.
Of course, this battle is part of a larger one to grant full human rights to all Virginians–lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians can’t even get included in the State Human Rights Code! But this also is a struggle to protect our children, ALL our children.
What is really amazing is that a majority of Virginians don’t agree with the Senate (or the House, which is enacting the same language) perpetuating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender indentity. And few Virginians I know want to deny a loving home to any child. The General Assembly is listening to a narrow band of opinion and thinking that no one is paying any attention.
We must change that. I intend to write my Senator, my Delegate, the Times-Dispatch, the Governor, too–we must not let them think that no one cares. Or that we have given up, or given in.
No way. This will not stand forever. For now, yes. Forever? No.
God will not be mocked. God’s children will not be cast aside, thrown to the side of the road just because some people can’t see other people as fully human.