The General Assembly is moving quickly to pass a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with religious or moral beliefs.
The House voted 71 to 28 to pass the bill Friday. A Senate committee passed its version of the bill on an 8 to 7 party-line vote.
“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,” said House Deputy Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert(R-Shenandoah), who introduced the bill.
But opponents argue that it perpetuates discrimination. “Any bill that sanctions discrimination is unfortunate and misguided,’’ Sen. Don McEachin (D-Henrico) said.
The Board of Social Services already adopted regulations that some say allow discrimination by private agencies based on gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and family status. The bills would convert those regulations into state law.