A Virginia board has agreed to extend the public comment period on keeping a policy that bans gay couples from becoming adoptive and foster parents, The Virginia-Pilot reported.

In April, the State Board of Social Services voted 7 to 2 in favor of keeping its current policy that only allows married couples and single folks – regardless of sexual orientation – to adopt a child. The policy disproportionately affects gay and lesbian couples because they are unable to marry in the state. The proposed policy change would have prohibited private adoption agencies from discrimination based on sexual orientation, disability or family status.

On Wednesday, at the request of the gay rights group Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the board agreed to extend the public comment period for 30 days. The new comment period ends October 12.

Former Democratic Governor Timothy M. Kaine had proposed the policy changes in 2009, less than two months before he left office.

But Republican Governor Bob McDonnell has said he opposes the changes.

“We want to have all of our adoption agencies, particularly those that are faith-based agencies …. to be free to do the great work they're doing without having additional government mandates or requirements,” McDonnell told the Virginia-Pilot. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also weighed in on the issue, saying banning anti-gay discrimination would violate state law.

Social conservatives decried the proposal; the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) called it “mandatory gay adoption.”

Victoria Cobb, president of Family Foundation, said in a statement that the group hoped the board would based its decision “on what is in the best interest of children and not on the personal desires of adults.”

“The fact is that the discriminatory regulations they propose would prevent hundreds of children from being placed in loving homes,” she said.