Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Shuts Out Thousands of Prospective Parents

Governor’s “Campaign for 1000” Lands One Year After Virginia Shuts Out Thousands of Prospective Parents

Washington – (May 10, 2013) -Family Equality Council and Equality Virginia today issued an open invitation to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to assist in finding adoptive parents for youth in the Virginia foster care system – by reversing their recently enacted policy that allows adoption agents to discriminate.

McDonnell’s “Campaign for 1000” aims to identify 1,000 adults seeking to adopt young people out of the foster care system in Virginia.

“I would say this is a joke, but nobody is laughing,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy for Family Equality Council. “Virginia is the worst in the country in placing children out of foster care. For the Governor to launch this campaign little more than a year after locking thousands of doors to Virginia’s foster youth is outlandish.” “Every child deserves the security and love that a family provides,” McDonnell is quoted as saying in a video announcing the “Campaign for 1000”. “We agree with Governor McDonnell,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia.  “However his administration’s actions have continually put the special interests of certain agencies ahead of the best interests of all children in need of a loving family in Virginia. Denying willing families makes no sense when the state itself admits it has more than 4,000 children in the foster care system.” Virginia currently has one of the lowest rates of public agency adoptions in the nation and cites the need to identify “A supply of parents who are ready to adopt” as one of the significant factors affecting adoption rates in the state.  It was Governor McDonnell who, just last year, signed legislation into law that actually reduced the number of qualified and loving families available and ready to adopt when he signed into law a “conscience clause,” which allows adoption agencies to refuse placements with any families based on religious or moral beliefs. On Tuesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced the introduction of the Every Child Deserves A Family Act which would eliminate discriminatory laws like the law in Virginia which allows agencies to discriminate. More information on the bill can be found at Family Equality Council connects, supports and represents three million parents who are LGBT and their six million children. We work to change attitudes and policies across the country to ensure all families are respected, loved, and celebrated. For 30 years, our community has stood together to raise our children and raise our voices toward fairness for all. To learn more, please visit Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians.  Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at  Connect on or Twitter @EqualityVA.