Last week was a big week for equality in Virginia. With same-sex being legalized, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that same-sex adoption will also be legal.
“Now that same-sex marriage in Virginia is officially legal, we owe it to all Virginians to ensure that every couple is treated equally under all of our laws, no matter whom they love,” he said in a press release. “This historic decision opened the door to marriage equality, and now it is my sincerest hope that it will also open more doors for Virginia children who need loving families.”
The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday it would not consider marriage cases from the commonwealth and other states seeking equal marriage bans, and McAuliffe made the announcement of legally allowing gay couples to adopt on Friday.
“By formally recognizing that same-sex couples can now legally adopt, we are more fully complying with the ruling in this important case, and sending the message once again that Virginia is open and welcoming to everyone,” McAuliffe said.
Mary Townley and Carol Schall were one of the plaintiff couples challenging the law. They had their California vows renewed last week with their 16-year-old daughter present.
“For the first time legally in Virginia I can say I’m here with my wife Mary and my daughter Emily,” Schall said.
India Lipton and her partner of 11 years, Shirley Lesser, decided to marry so they would both have custody of their son Dylan.
“We really wanted to get the legal part done so that way she can begin the proceedings to adopt our son,” Lipton said.
Director of Equality Virginia, James Parrish, was overjoyed with the announcement.
“Equality Virginia applauds Governor McAuliffe for formally recognizing that same-sex couples now have the same rights as all other married couples in Virginia, including the right to adopt a child together,” he said. “For lesbian and gay couples who plan to or are already raising children together, the freedom to marry also means that they are able to better protect their children by providing them with two legal parents.”
However, regardless of this new law, private adoption companies can still reject parents based on religious or moral beliefs with their “conscience clause.”