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Va. OK's Discrimination in Adoption Services

Va. OK's Discrimination in Adoption Services

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Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is ready to sign a bill that would allow private adoption agencies in the state to discriminate against prospective LGBT parents.

The state Senate passed the measure Tuesday, and the House had approved it earlier, the Associated Press reports, and McDonnell (pictured) has promised to sign it. "The legislation allows agencies to deny placements that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality," the AP notes. Virginia's 120 local departments of social services can contract with any of 77 state-licensed private agencies for adoption and foster care services.

Virginia would become the second state, after North Dakota, with such a statute. It writes into law regulations adopted by the Virginia Board of Social Services last December; the move means a future governor would need the legislature's approval to alter the regulations.

The bill is "the first step toward actually outlawing adoption by LGBT people," said Sen. Adam Ebbin, the legislature's only openly gay member. The Child Welfare League of America and the American Civil Liberties Union also opposed the measure. It "in essence codifies state-supported discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which is not only unconstitutional but also unconscionable as it will deny many parentless children the family placements they so desperately need," Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, said in an email.

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