Virginia is on the verge of becoming the second state in the nation to allow private adoption agencies to refuse applications from gay parents. The General Assembly is considering adding a conscience clause to state law to allow state-funded private adoption agencies to refuse parents based on sexual orientation or religious or moral beliefs, The Washington Post
The only other state to have such a provision is North Dakota and supporters argue it protects religious freedom.
“This measure will chisel into law the principle that people of faith can adhere to their convictions without fear of reprisal from those who would discriminate against their religious beliefs regarding how we should raise our children,” Republican House Deputy Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert said, according to the Post.
The GOP controls both legislative chambers in Virginia. The House passed the measure last week and the Senate is to vote this week. Gov. Robert McDonnell, R-Va., is expected to sign the legislation, the Post reported.
State law does not allow any unmarried couples to adopt, but single people, regardless of sexual orientation, may adopt. The gay-rights Family Equality Council said nearly 2,300 same-sex couples are raising about 4,500 children in Virginia. Most of them were adopted in Virginia and, as result, just one parent has legal custody, the Post reported.
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