Former Senate President Rallies Lawmakers,
Blocks Discriminatory Amendment
Vote follows fiery debate as Indiana-style measure moved forward in House
In a stunning turnaround late this afternoon, the Florida Senate blocked efforts to allow Indiana-style discrimination in adoption. In doing so they derailed an effort that originated in the House of Representatives to reintroduce an anti-gay adoption law in Florida. Former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, was an eloquent opponent, stating “We don’t need to turn back the social clock in this state to 1977,” the year Florida banned gay and lesbian people from adopting children.
“We applaud Senator Gaetz for rallying his colleagues to stop this disastrous effort to put discrimination back into Florida law.” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “Now is not the time for Florida to look back to its ugly past. It is time to secure full equality and chart a fair and inclusive path for our state.”
The decisive Senate action came just minutes after the Florida House voted overwhelmingly to allow taxpayer-funded private adoption agencies to turn away gay people and others. While the House bill was clearly aimed at discriminating against gay and lesbian people, the fiery debate spotlighted bill sponsor Rep. Jason Brodeur’s unwillingness to deny that agencies might be able to discriminate based on race, religion or other factors as well.
This Senate adoption bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, would also eliminate Florida’s 1977 anti-gay adoption statute which has remained on the books despite being unenforceable since it was declared unconstitutional in 2010. The bill has one more reading in the Senate; if passed as expected it will be sent to the Governor.