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Va. Senate panel rejects second parent adoptions for unmarried, same-sex couples

Va. Senate panel rejects second parent adoptions for unmarried, same-sex couples

RICHMOND, Va. — A proposal to allow adoption by the partners of unmarried same-sex parents was rejected Friday by a Virginia Senate committee.

Virginia-FlagThanks to a series of federal court decisions last year, same-sex couples now have the right to marry in Virginia. But some choose not to do so, and Sen. Janet Howell’s measure would have accommodated such couples by allowing someone other than the spouse of a parent to adopt a child.

Howell, a Fairfax County Democrat, said children in such circumstances deserve the security and protection of two legal parents.

Adoption opens the door to additional health care options and other financial benefits, she said, and ensures that a child will still have a parent in the event of the biological parent’s death.

Virginia doesn’t require opposite-sex parents to marry in order for both to have legal rights to their children, but that’s not true for same-sex parents, Howell said.

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“We need to level the playing field,” she said. “The world has shifted, but some children have been left behind.”

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration supported Howell’s bill. But conservative groups opposed it, saying unmarried couples are unstable.

The Republican-controlled Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee defeated the measure on a party-line 8-7 vote.

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