Virginia Lawmakers OK Anti-Gay Adoption Rule
It allows agencies to block placements based on religious beliefs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2012 3:00 PM CST
File photo from a gay pride parade.   (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)

(Newser) – Virginia's legislature has approved a controversial bill widely seen as a measure to curb adoptions by gay couples. It allows private agencies to deny placements based on religious beliefs, explains the Richmond Times Dispatch. "This law has one purpose, which is to protect the ability of religious groups receiving millions of dollars of taxpayer money to deny adoption and foster care placements involving gay and lesbian parents," complains a Democratic member of the House. "This isn't a 'conscience clause'—it's a 'state-sponsored discrimination clause.'"

Backers, however, say it's about protecting religious freedom, not discrimination, notes AP. "Despite claims of opponents, this legislation does not change who can adopt children in Virginia," says the president of the Family Foundation of Virginia. "This simply protects those agencies that do the bulk of the child placement work." Earlier, the state Senate passed a measure requiring women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.