RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Board of Social Services finalized final regulations that advocates say would allow state-licensed adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective adoptive and foster parents based on their sexual orientation.

The board voted 5-1 at its regular meeting Wednesday to have the regulations take effect May 1.

Advocates urged board members to restore protections that make clear that state-licensed adoption agencies cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, disability, national origin and political beliefs when determining child placements.

Some conservative Christian groups advocated for the removal of protections.

Gay-rights advocates say children seeking homes would suffer if entire categories of qualified people were barred from adopting or becoming foster parents.

Chairwoman Bela Sood voted no, and two members were not present for the vote.