Controversial Florida Adoption Bill Heading to Vote

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

The recent controversy in Indiana centers around a new law that allows private businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples or homosexual individuals based on the religious beliefs of the business owners. While proponents state that the bill is focused on the freedom of religious expression, opponents claim the bill is simply a protection for business owners to openly and blatantly discriminate against gay people. Certain legislators in Florida have proposed a bill that would allow same-sex discrimination that may hit much closer to home–by private adoption agencies.

House Bill 7111, approved by the House Judiciary Committee on April 2, 2015, would allow any private adoption or child-placement agency that receives state funds to cite moral or religious grounds to deny adoptions to gay couples or individuals without risking their funding. The bill seems to be a direct and hasty response to the House of Representative’s vote to strike down the Florida ban on adoption by same-sex couples. Democratic legislators and organizations such as Equality Florida is speaking out against the bill as openly allowing discrimination. Representative Dave Kerner stated that any adoption agents who would discriminate should not be in the adoption business.

Adoption can be stressful

Private adoption is already a lengthy and stressful process for prospective parents. Costs are high and wait times are long and, generally, only couples who truly want to give a child a good home are willing to go through the difficult process. With 82 private adoption agencies in the state, the restriction on gay couples who can provide a good home could be significant if agencies were to claim religious or moral reasons. Supporters of the bill advise same-sex couples to seek adoption through the Florida Department of Children and Families. However, many birth mothers choose to go through private agencies and placements for those children may become more limited.

Other opponents believe that this bill may be a slippery slope to allow other types of discrimination in adoption, including based on race, previous divorce, or other factors that should not necessarily come into play in adoption decisions. The bill will now go to vote in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate before it can go to the Governor to sign into law. The eyes of the nation will be watching to see if Florida follows in Indiana’s footsteps in passing a religious freedom law that potentially limits the ability of same-sex couples to adopt children.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Help Today

If you have any legal question or issue related to family law matters, including child custody, adoption, divorce, and more, you should never hesitate to call an experienced family lawyer for advice and assistance. At the law office of Alan R. Burton, we are committed to helping families in Florida obtain the best possible outcome in any legal case. We understand how stressful family issues can be and will always stand up for your best interests. Call our office in Boca Raton today for help.

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