Reps. Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran seek to stop Va. Senate's adoption bill

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va)

In the debate over gay adoption in Virginia, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va) says he's sponsoring national legislation that would block the bill passed by the Virginia Senate.

The Senate bill, which the House is expected to approve, allows private adoption agencies in Virginia to block prospective parents for religious, moral or political reasons

Governor Bob McDonnell says he plans to sign the bill as soon as it passes the House.

But Virginia Democrats in Congress say the bill blatantly discriminates and will hurt the image of Virginia nationwide.

"I believe very strongly that this is a reactionary piece of legislation and that the time for discrimination in Virginia is long past," Connolly says.

The Virginia bill passed by the state senate codifies current state policies that say private adoption agencies can refuse prospective parents based on several factors -- sexual orientation, religion, age of the parents, gender, disability, family status or even political beliefs.

Today Art Dennett, the CEO of Catholic Charities told ABC7, "This move simply strengthens First Amendment protections and safeguards our abilities to assist those many families who seek and depend on our help precisely because of our religious identity."

The Obama administration is calling the Virginia law "discriminatory and irrelevant" to finding adoptees a loving home.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner calls the state bill "mean spirited" and "wrong" and Congressman Jim Moran is joining Connolly's efforts to block the bill.

But several leading religious organizations who handle adoptions in Virginia told us today they strongly support the Virginia law.