Florida Bill Would Allow Adoption Agencies To Use Religion to Discriminate Against Gay Parents

The Republican controlled Florida House Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed a bill that would expressly allow publicly funded adoption agencies to openly-discriminate against same-sex couples for religious reasons.

House Bill 7111 will apply to private child-placing agencies and states that they are “not required to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

It adds, “The state or a local government or community-based care lead agency may not withhold a grant, contract, or participation in a government program from a private child-placing agency because of the agency’s refusal to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child which violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

Equality Florida released a statement condemning the bill:

The hastily written bill was introduced mid-session, in response to the House unexpectedly voting to eliminate Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoptions. The ban had not been enforced since 2010, when an appellate court ruled it unconstitutional, but it remains on the books. Indiana lawmakers were similarly motivated, introducing their bill as a counter to gay couples marrying.

“Florida lawmakers can seize this moment to send a clear message that we are a state where discrimination has no place and where hard work and talent matter, by rejecting this Indiana-style adoption bill,” Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said Wednesday. “We also call on the legislature to fast-track the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a statewide non-discrimination bill that is backed by Florida business and enjoys strong bipartisan support.”

“This bill will let agencies put their religion first and the children second,” said Michelle Richardson of ACLU of Florida,.

“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.”

h/t: SFGN