RICHMOND (AP) -- Legislation declaring that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children has won final General Assembly approval.

Without debate, the Senate voted 29-11 Thursday to accept a House amendment to the bill. The measure has now cleared both chambers and is headed to the governor's desk.

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

Opponents argued that the legislation could have unintended consequences, like conferring rights on noncustodial parents and allowing parents to demand that their children be exempt from certain public school requirements.

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