A bill which would have helped every child have two parents failed to get out of a Senate Committee hearing today.
“This bill is designed to close the gap for those children who still do not have legal access to both of their parents,” said Sen. Janet Howell (D – 32) (top image via Equality Virginia) before the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services.
Howell’s SB 679 might seem a bit redundant after same-sex marriage became legal in Virginia, making the process for married same-sex couples to adopt children much easier because adoption laws are gender neutral and often refer to “spouse” instead of “husband” or “wife.”
But her bill aimed to give a specific group of folks in Virginia parental rights.
“This bill protects children in specific circumstances,” said Howell. “Where same-sex parents cannot or choose not to marry one another. Children in these circumstances deserve the security and protection of both legal parents – and this bill provides a pathway for that.”
Howell said Virginia does not require different-sex parents to marry in order to secure legal ties to their children, “but the same simply isn’t true for same-sex parents.”
James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, said he and his group were disappointed by the outcome of today’s hearing.
“A bill to allow second-parent adoption would have done one thing, and one thing only – protect Virginia’s children,” said Parrish in a statement released shortly after this morning’s vote. “It is extremely discouraging that our lawmakers cannot come together in support of a commonsense bill that would ensure all children have legal access to the parents who are raising them. ”