Despite the fact that courts have invalidated Florida’s ban on gay people adopting children, the state legislature still wants to interfere with gay families.
The Florida House voted today for a “conscience protection” bill allowing private adoption agencies to refuse placement of children with gay couples.
The 75-38 vote sending the proposal to the state Senate came after more than 90 minutes of often impassioned debate.
Proponents said the measure by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, would prevent some adoption agencies from halting services because of moral convictions against gay marriage. Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued that the bill (HB 7111) amounted to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays.
The bill does not specifically mention gays. It permits agencies with written codes of ethics to refuse adoptions sought by parents whose lifestyles are at odds with the agency.
Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, told the House about feeling fear as a boy in 1977, seeing Anita Bryant conducting her notorious campaign to repeal a Miami-Dade County gay-rights ordinance. He said 36 states now recognize same-sex marriage and predicted that the issue will be resolved nationwide in a Supreme Court ruling next summer.
“This fight is over,” Richardson told the GOP majority. “Your fight is not with me. Your fight is not with the Democratic Party. Your fight is not with the gay community.
“Your fight is among yourselves because certain factions in the Republican Party are not going to yield to what is happening in society.”
Brodeur and other supporters of the bill said they do not support discrimination. They said church-affiliated agencies in Boston, San Francisco and Illinois have curtailed adoption services rather than comply with legal edicts to place children with gay parents.
I call bullshit on Mr. Brodeur for the simple reason that the bill was proposed with the encouragement and endorsement of the state’s chief panty-sniffer and buttinsky John Stemberger.
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, cheered the House vote. Last week, the chamber passed a large adoption package which included a section striking down Florida’s ban on gay marriage — which was invalidated in court a few years ago. The Senate is set to pass that package (HB 7013) next week, including the repeal of the adoption ban.
“The house has atoned for its mistake last week and done the right thing,” Stemberger said of the “conscience protection” bill.
Enough said. Mr. Stemberger has a long history of support for state-sanctioned homophobia and bigotry. So if he’s in favor of a law, you know it’s going to be mischief and hatred for the LGBT community.
The bill still has to get through the Senate, and there’s hope that it will not make it. But the simple fact that the House still thinks it’s okay to allow discrimination is shameful.