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House panel OKs bill to give private adoption agencies refusal option

One week after striking down a ban on gay adoption, a House panel on Thursday approved a proposed committee bill that would allow private child-placing agencies to refuse an adoption if the placement violates their religious or moral convictions.

The proposed bill, PCB HHSC 15-03, was supported by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Florida Eagle Forum, a self described “pro-family” group, and opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women and organizations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates, among others.

Health & Human Services Committee Chairman Jason Brodeur said the bill is necessary in light of the state’s move to eliminate the ban on gay adoption. Without the bill, he said, the private agencies “might likely have to shut down because they can’t reconcile their beliefs with the state.”

According to the staff analysis there are 82 private adoption agencies in Florida.

The bill passed by an 11-6 margin.

Specifically the bill places into law a conscience protection and prevents the Department of Children and Families from denying or revoking an agency’s license.

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