First comes love … then comes marriage … but with the Florida House, no baby carriage exists for same-sex couples.
Bill Day sharpens his gaze on a bill, HB 7111, passed Thursday by the House, which allows private adoption agencies the option to turn away gay couples, either on religious or moral grounds.
The measure was in response to a bill the House passed in March, HB 7013, removing a gay adoption ban — rarely enforced — out of state law.
Passed by a 75-38 vote, the law prevents the state from revoking licenses or denying funding for agencies that prevent gay couples from adopting a child, citing religious or moral grounds.
Supporters, mostly conservative, argue the measure is necessary to support faith-based adoption agencies.
Earlier, the Senate passed another bill removing the on gay adoption ban from state law. Many say the law was symbolic since the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled Florida’s ban on gay adoption unconstitutional in 2010.
“We’ve seen that in other states, these agencies are being shut down,” said Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur, the bill’s sponsor, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t believe that the state should be able to discriminate against these organizations based on their religious beliefs.”
Brodeur added that the law was not discriminatory, because gay couples would be able to go to secular or state adoption agencies.
At the same time, Democrats attempted several amendments prohibiting discrimination based on other things — sexual orientation, race and gender. None was successful.
Opponents compared the House motion to the controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in that it opens the door to possible discrimination against prospective LGBT parents, without considering the best interests of children.
And in this case, what’s best for children is the ultimate issue, meaning a loving home – regardless of parents’ gender.