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Va. Senate panel advances parental rights bill

Monday - 1/28/2013, 1:41pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Legislation declaring that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children is headed to the Virginia Senate floor.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6 Monday to endorse the bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bryce Reeves of Spotsylvania County.

Decades of court rulings already have made parental rights part of common law in Virginia. However, Reeves said those rights would be strengthened by their inclusion in the state code.

Democratic Sen. John Edwards of Roanoke argued that the legislation could allow parents to demand that their children be exempt from certain public school requirements. And the committee's attorney, Steve Benjamin, worried that the bill could confer rights on noncustodial parents or even sperm donors.

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