Governor Rick Scott of Florida Should Take Notice and Oppose His State’s Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill
WASHINGTON - Today, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) and Voice for Adoption (VFA) released a joint statement supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents, and affirming that they are as capable of raising children as non-LGBT couples and individuals.
“CWLA, DAI, NACAC and Voice for Adoption reaffirm their principles and standards that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents are as well suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts and that the needs of children and youth who are LGBTQ must be addressed based on their best interests” the letter reads. “Therefore, we firmly stand against any federal, state, or agency laws or policies that prohibit or discriminate against any qualified individuals and couples from becoming parents due to philosophical or religious beliefs.”
“The nation’s leading child welfare organizations are saying with one, unified voice that LGBT parents have what it takes to provide the loving homes millions of children need in this country,” said director of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Children, Youth and Families Program Ellen Kahn. “Using sexual orientation or gender identity to rule out prospective foster and adoptive parents is shameful, wrong and helps no child. We commend these organizations for standing with the estimated 2 million children in America being raised by LGBT parents and speaking out against legislation that only puts personal biases over the best interest of the child.”
Earlier this week, HRC joined Equality Florida calling on lawmakers to abandon an anti-LGBT bill in the state that would have enabled discrimination -- with taxpayer dollars -- against prospective LGBT foster and adoptive parents, and place children seeking a permanent home at continued risk.
Proponents of this troubling legislation were unsuccessful yesterday in making the language an amendment to a broader adoption overhaul bill in the Senate (SB 320), but members of the Florida House of Representatives could vote for passage of their discriminatory adoption bill (HB 7111) as early as today. HB 7111 passed through the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 11-4 on April 2nd.
The bill strips otherwise eligible, prospective parents of legal recourse if they’ve been discriminated against and prohibits the state from withholding taxpayer money from agencies discriminating against qualified families. One of the cruelest consequences of the bill is that it would allow agencies to refuse to place foster children with members of their extended families - a practice often considered to be in the best interest of the child - based on the relative’s marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, or religion. A loving, unmarried grandparent, for example, or a stable, welcoming relative of a different faith could be deemed unsuitable under the proposed law.
HRC continues to call on fair-minded legislators to stop this blatantly discriminatory effort on behalf of the children of their state, including the more than 14,000 children currently in foster care in Florida.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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