Virginia is so ridiculous sometimes that it makes me say “God, damn Virginia”. Should there actually be a god, surely that god is not a fan of the hatred and bigotry that so many Virginia politicians and citizens embrace and repeatedly seek to codify. So it is again with SB 349 / HB 189, which Gov. Bob McDonnell can’t wait to sign. It updates the law for adoption agencies to include a “conscience clause”. Being Virginia this is nothing more than the legislature’s way of saying “EWWW, TEH GAYZ”.
Child-placing agency; conscience clause. Provides that, to the extent allowed by federal law, no private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies. In addition, the bill provides that (i) the Commissioner of Social Services shall not deny an application for an initial license or renewal of a license, nor revoke a license, of any private child-placing agency and (ii) no state or local government entity shall deny a private child-placing agency any grant, contract, or participation in a government program because of the agency’s objection to performing, assisting, counseling, recommending, consenting to, referring, or participating in a placement that violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies. The bill provides that the refusal of a private child-placing agency to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in a placement that violates its written moral or religious convictions or policies shall not form the basis of any claim for damages.
As a libertarian, private actors should be allowed to discriminate against whoever they want to hate. Denying access to one’s personal services is a right. Free markets require more than one consenting party. Likewise, I possess the right to give my business to someone else who more closely shares my values.
But it’s also clear that one stops being 100% private when one starts (voluntarily) taking public money. Want to discriminate? Fine, do it with your own money. When everyone is forced to contribute money to you, constraints tied to basic principles are reasonable. in short, you’re entitled to your religious beliefs. You’re not entitled to use my money to spread them in the world.