Florida House committee advances anti-gay adoption bill

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee – The Florida House Judiciary Committee voted 11-4 in favor of the Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies bill on April 2.

The Conscience Protection bill would allow private adoption agencies and family foster homes to deny placing a child with a family or couple, if they feel placing the child would conflict with the agency’s religious beliefs or moral code.

The Judiciary Committee heard from 23 Florida citizens, most of whom opposed the bill and asked what is the bill’s true intent. Carlos Smith of Equality Florida asked the Committee to consider whether this bill hurts or helps children.

“This bill will let agencies put their religion first and the children second,” said Michelle Richardson of ACLU of Florida, echoing many arguments that this was just a way to legally discriminate against LGBT couples.

“Let us be clear what this bill really does,” said Rep. Dave Kerner (D). “It discriminates against gay folk. We should be thanking them for adopting, not continuing an antiquated belief that gay people don’t make good parents.”

Kerner then said to all gay adoptive parents listening to the broadcast or at the proceedings “thank you for what you do.”

The bill will now move forward in the House during a legislative session that continues to advance anti-gay bills, but not pro-LGBT bills.

The bill was referred to the House calendar on April 3. The state Senate does not have a companion bill at this time.

Nathan Gill, 10, testified at the hearing. He’s the son of Martin Gill, whose lawsuit paved the way to legal adoption by gays in Florida.

“Me and my brother were placed as foster kids when I was younger,” said Nathaniel. “We had two dads and we were happy.”

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