The so-called conscience clause bill passed the House 71-28, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
"This law has one purpose, which is to protect the ability of religious groups receiving millions of dollars of taxpayer money to deny adoption and foster care placements involving gay and lesbian parents," said Delegate David Englin, D-Alexandria. "This isn't a 'conscience clause' -- it's a 'state-sponsored discrimination clause.'"
"Despite claims of opponents, this legislation does not change who can adopt children in Virginia," Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb said. "The law is already clear on that issue. This simply protects those agencies that do the bulk of the child placement work."