RICHMOND, Va. — Five days after same-sex marriage became legal in Virginia, same-sex couples were told they could now legally adopt children. The Virginia Department of Social Services informed local social services offices of the change on Friday.
“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,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a written statement. “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.”
Under Virginia law, a “married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.”
In the hours after same-sex marriage became legal in Virginia on Monday, adoption agencies and courts were unsure what to do. A clerk with Chesterfield County said the paperwork had not been updated and guidelines had not been issued by the state.
“We are waiting from licensing on how to proceed,” Faith Kallman, with Jewish Family Services (JFS), said. She added while JFS had assisted same-sex couples in adopting in the past, they could only make one parent the legal guardian under Virginia law.
Today’s announcement from the state comes as a relief to couples looking to officially expand their families.
“I am going to adopt my son,” Shirley Lesser Monday after she married her longtime partner India.