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Virginia Senate rules that unmarried gay couples cannot adopt

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the state – and couples who wish to jointly adopt will have to get hitched if they want to both be parents

Virginia Senate rules that unmarried gay couples cannot adopt

The Virginia Senate committee rejected a proposal on Friday to extend adoption rights to the partners of unmarried gay partners.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia. However, not all same-sex couples wish to marry.

Democrat Senator Janet Howell [pictured] submitted a proposal that sought to allow someone other than the spouse of a parent to adopt a child. The proposal had the backing of Virginia Governor’s Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Last year, McAuliffe – also a Democrat – welcomed the arrival of same-sex marriage in the state by officiating at a gay wedding.

Howell said that children deserve the security and protection of two legal parents, irrespective of the adults’ marital status. Opposite-sex couples do not need to be married in order for both parties to have legal rights over their children.

‘We need to level the playing field,’ AP reports her as saying. ‘The world has shifted, but some children have been left behind.’

The proposal was opposed by local Conservative groups, and the Republican-controlled Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee defeated the measure by a count of 8-7 – voting along party lines.

‘I was deeply disappointed that the Republicans defeated my second parent adoption bill on a party line vote,’ Senator Howell said to GSN. ‘Children thrive when they have two legal parents who have the legal rights and obligations of parents. Virginia’s archaic laws put some children at a disadvantage, especially if the child is ill or one parent dies.

‘There is a lot of hypocrisy from people who claim to be pro-child and pro-marriage yet deprive a child of a legal second parent.’

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