RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia House of Delegates is set for a final vote on legislation that would allow private, faith-based adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality.

The measure is on the House docket for final approval Friday.

Republican Del. Todd Gilbert of Woodstock says his bill protects religious freedom. Opponents argue that the government, which contracts with dozens of private, state-licensed child placement agencies, should not sanction discrimination.

The Virginia Board of Social Services in December adopted regulations that allow discrimination by private agencies based on personal factors, including gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and family status. Gilbert’s bill would convert those regulations into state law.

‘Separation of church and state’ does not appear in the United States Constitution, although there have been Supreme Court rulings that have sided with the notion in the past.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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