Va. Senate panel rejects adoption by unmarried gay couples

FILE - From left, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse with DeBoer's attorney Dana Nessel enter Federal Court in Detroit, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 before a trial that could overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage. Gay couples poised for a favorable ruling last fall had lined up for licenses at county offices across Michigan, only to be stunned when U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said he wanted to hear testimony from experts. The case began in 2012 when nurses Rowse, 49, and DeBoer, 42, of Hazel Park sued to try to upset a Michigan law that bars them from adopting each other's children. But the case became even more significant when Friedman invited them to add the same-sex marriage ban to their lawsuit. They argue that Michigan's constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, which forbids states from treating people differently under the law. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Daniel Mears)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Senate committee has rejected a proposal to provide adoption rights to unmarried gay couples.

Thanks 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.

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 Friday on a party-line 8-7 vote.

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