Governor Crist Gives Conflicting Answers on gay adoption

During a visit to Jacksonville to promote adoption in Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist reiterated his opposition to gay adoption in the state.

But when asked about it three hours earlier in Tallahassee, he sounded less opposed.

As a part of his statewide tour for "Explore Adoption Day," Crist spoke to a crowded courtroom at the Duval County Courthouse about the increase in adoptions throughout the state.

Crist and other adoption advocates talked about the need for even more adoption, especially for older children who have a difficult time making it out of the system.

When he was running for governor in 2006, Crist told The St. Petersburg Times, "My position is the traditional family is the best to adopt." He reaffirmed that statement on Wednesday in Jacksonville.

"I think Florida has it right right now," he told The Times-Union.

Earlier in the day, Tallahassee reporters asked if he would support legislation to change the law, he left the door open, saying, "I'd have to think about it."

Some advocates think that allowing gay couples to adopt children could help those children in Florida who haven't found a home yet. And the American Civil Liberties Union is suing to overturn a 1977 law making Florida the only state with an outright ban on gay adoption.

"Excluding a class of people is harmful to children, particularly those in our state who have had gay foster parents," ACLU spokesman Larry Spalding told The Associated Press.

The governor, who is vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, visited Tallahassee, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale to promote his adoption initiative. During his 2006 governor's campaign, he emphasized adoption as an alternative to abortion.

For the last two years, Florida has set state records for adoptions with 3,700 in 2008-09 and 3,674 in 2007-08. Florida has also decreased the number of children entering Florida's foster care system by 32 percent.

"To have Florida set a record for adoption two years in a row is incredible," Crist said. "It's not the numbers that mean so much. What means so much is the love there is when an adoption occurs."

Two families even got a little bigger at Wednesday's event as two adoptions were finalized by local judges in front of the crowd.

Gary and Emma Stamper of Jacksonville adopted their grandchildren Deborah, 11, and Russell, 10.

After nearly 10 years in foster homes, Aaron Cooper, 17, was also adopted by Wayne and Deborah Norman of St. Augustine. He met the couple through his church and said he couldn't be happier.

"It's so wonderful to feel that you have a family that loves you," he said.

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See the full Florida Times Union Article here.


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