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Virginia lawmakers approve bill allowing adoption agencies to refuse placement

The Virginia House of Delegates [official website] on Friday voted 71-28 to approve a bill [text] that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place a child if the agency, or anyone affiliated with it, disagrees with the proposed placement based on religious beliefs. Effectively, this bill would allow adoption agencies to refuse to adopt to same-sex couples. Governor Bob McDonnell [official profile] said he will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk. The bill provides, in relevant part:

No private child-placing agency shall be required to consider or consent to any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would conflict with the religious tenets of any sponsor of the agency or other organization or institution with which the child-placing agency is affiliated or associated. ... Refusal of a private child-placing agency to consider or consent to any placement of a child pursuant to this section shall not form the basis of any claim for damages.
The Virginia Board of Social Services already adopted similar regulations in December. This legislation would prevent those regulations from being changed.

Last month an Iowa court ruled that both same-sex parents' names must be recorded on birth certificates. In October the US Supreme Court [official website] denied certiorari [JURIST report] in Adar v. Smith [backgrounder], in which a same-sex couple asked Louisiana to include both of their names on the birth certificate of their adopted child. In April the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a state ban on adoptions by same-sex couples. The Supreme Court of Mexico in August 2010 upheld a Mexico City law [JURIST report] allowing adoptions by same-sex couples. Two years before that, a Florida court ruled that a state statute [JURIST report] preventing same-sex couples from adopting children was unconstitutional.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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