The Virginia Senate has passed legislation allowing private adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality.
The 22-18 vote Thursday virtually ensures the bill will become law. The House of Delegates has passed similar legislation, and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will sign the measure if it reaches his desk. Virginia would become just the second state with such a law.
Republican Sen. Jeffrey McWaters of Virginia Beach says his bill protects the religious rights of private adoption agencies. Opponents argue that the government, which contracts with dozens of state-licensed child-placement agencies, shouldn't sanction discrimination.
The legislation is based on regulations adopted by the Virginia Board of Social Services in December.