Democrats and Republicans continued their sniping over social issues in the House of Delegates Friday. They passed a bill that critics say, will make it harder for gays and lesbians to adopt children, making it one of many blows to Democrats during this General Assembly session.
House Bill 189, which allows faith-based adoption agencies to pick and choose who they want as clients, passed the House by a 71 to 28 margin Friday - overwhelmingly with Republican support.
House Minority Leader David Toscano said of the bill, "We think the bill goes way too far for what it's intended to do."
Critics say the bill would allow agencies receiving state dollars to openly discriminate against gay and lesbian families.
"We don't think it's appropriate that if the state is providing money for child placing agencies, that they ought to be able to pick and choose who they're going to provide those services to," said Toscano.
This issue is the latest in a series of social issues to divide the house. Toscano said those issues focus on "bills on abortion, bills on guns, bills on gays," stated Toscano.
On the floor Friday, Toscano took Republicans to task for recent votes limiting voting and abortion rights and expanding access to guns.
Toscano said, "The majority of Virginians want economic opportunity and more of it...and yet we've been spending little time talking about this."
But Republicans countered, saying gun bills compromise just 1.6 percent of all legislation introduced.
"If the gentleman believes that we are focused exclusively on those issues, I believe he has miscalculated literally and figuratively. We are in fact, Mr. Speaker, focused on jobs," said Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah County.
He went on to say that Virginia's economy is doing relatively well because of Republican leadership in keeping taxes and regulation low, especially in the governor's proposed budget bill this year.