Oct 10, 2014

Same-Sex Spouses Can Now Legally Adopt in Virginia

Share This

The following is an announcement from Governor Terry McAuliffe stating that Same-Sex Spouses can now adopt in Virginia:

McAuliffe Administration to Local Divisions of Social Services: Same-Sex Spouses can now Legally Adopt

Today, at the direction of Governor Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Department of Social Services released a bulletin informing local social services divisions that adoption between same-sex spouses is now legal across the Commonwealth.

“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,” said Governor McAuliffe. “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.

“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.”

Virginia law states that a “married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.”

Below is the bulletin that was sent to local divisions of social services today:

DATE: October 10, 2014

TO: Local Departments of Social Services Director
Adoption Supervisors and Staff
Foster Care Supervisors and Staff
Resource Specialists

FROM: Margaret Ross Schultze, Commissioner

SUBJECT: Impact of Same-Sex Court Ruling on Adoption and Foster Care

CONTACT: Carl E. Ayers, Director of Family Services – [email protected] or


On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal related to Virginia’s statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. As a result of that decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision determining those bans to be unconstitutional became effective. In other words, Virginia now recognizes and allows same-sex marriage.

We take this opportunity to let you know how the court decision impacts the approval of foster and adoptive homes. When determining the appropriateness of a foster or adoptive home, Virginia, in response to the Fourth Circuit ruling, now recognizes any legally-performed marriage (same-sex or opposite-sex), whether performed in Virginia or another state. This ruling does not confer legal status to civil unions or domestic partnerships. Any married couple is a married couple for purposes of adoptive placements in accordance with Virginia Code § 63.2-1225.

We are in the process of reviewing all applicable statutes and regulations to determine what amendments need to be made. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.

Cc: Regional Directors