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Virginia Nixes Adoption Nondiscrimination Rules

Virginia Nixes Adoption Nondiscrimination Rules


The Virginia Board of Social Services voted Wednesday against adding language to adoption regulations that would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Richmond Times-Dispatchreports that the 7-2 vote came after emotional public testimony from both sides of the debate, with one executive director of a faith-based group calling the addition of such language "an unacceptable violation of the freedom of conscience upon which our pluralistic society is based, and even of the religious freedom upon which our commonwealth and our country were built."

Though single individuals and married couples can adopt in the state, unmarried couples are barred from doing so. Yet according to statistics from the Family Equality Council based on 2000 census estimates, about 3,300 same-sex couples are currently raising about 6,700 children in the state. Under state law, only one parent is allowed to have custody.

"Today, the State Board of Social Services told the 1,300 children already waiting for a loving, forever home that they'll have to wait longer," Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said of the vote.

A spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that he "believes the existing adoption regulations are effective and fair."

Read more here.

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