The House Republican leadership on Thursday announced that it would allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.
But the legislation does not provide a legal definition for what a child is, leaving many lawmakers to speculate about whether the policy will become law.
The House passed a bill last month that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples, but it did not have enough support to pass the Senate.
In a conference call with reporters, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the legislation a “very, very good start” but said it would not “change the way we approach children” and said she was “sick and tired” of lawmakers using the issue as a political football.
“It’s really hard to talk about gay marriage and adoptions when you don’t have the details, when you’ve got to pass something and when you can’t even find the time to look at what you want to do with it,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson (D) of Wisconsin, the top House Republican, are calling for the bill to be sent to the Senate, where Democrats control the chamber.
“I think we can start to start to make a real move in the Senate,” Thompson said.
“It’s something we should be talking about.”
The bill would allow same-gender couples to marry.
But it would have to pass a separate Senate vote, as well as a conference committee.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that he does not support same-facial-identity-rights legislation.
“As a Christian, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
I don’t believe in gay marriage,” he said.
The legislation is expected to face fierce opposition from gay and lesbians, who have been among the most vocal supporters of gay marriage in the United States.
On Wednesday, more than 1,000 activists gathered in the Capitol to protest the bill.
A group of gay-rights advocates led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Equality Florida staged a “tear-down” of the Capitol’s front steps and blocked the Capitol Police from entering the building.
At least 40 House Democrats who are up for re-election next year in districts where gay marriage is a high-profile issue have called for a vote on the bill before it can pass.
Rep. Joe Crowley (D, N.Y.) is among those who support the legislation.
He told The Hill that it is time to start “a serious discussion on this issue.”
Crowley told The Associated Press that the House should not wait until the election cycle to begin debating the issue.
“We’re just going to start discussing it now and then we’re going to have a serious discussion and then the question will be answered.
I would not want to have to wait until I’m running for reelection to have this discussion,” Crowley said.