Although Florida’s ban on adoptions by same-sex couples has been officially lifted since 2010, the law remains on the books, so to speak, since lawmakers never actually repealed it. That changed today (Tuesday, April 14).
The Florida Senate today gave final approval to a bill primarily intended to help more foster children find permanent homes, but which also removes the ban on adoption by same-sex couples.
Smith said that former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, helped clinch the deal with his “eloquent” arguments urging lawmakers not to be swayed by arguments that the bill might go against the religious principles of some private, taxpayer-supported adoption agencies.
Gaetz, a Lutheran, pointed out that his denomination, which does not discriminate against same-sex couples as prospective adoptive parents, placed 183 children in adoptive homes last year. That’s “more than three times as many” adopted through the Lutheran agencies as through the Baptist and Catholic agencies that refuse to place children with same-sex couples. “So I ask you today to follow the law,” Gaetz said. “Follow the law that says we don’t discriminate. Follow the law that says we’re going to give these [children waiting for adoption] the best chance we can.”
Watch Gaetz’s closing arguments below.
The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.
The ban dates back to 1977 when right-wing singer Anita Bryant launched her “Save Our Children” campaign. It survived several court challenges and even was upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004. It was overturned in 2010 when a state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the ban violated the Florida state constitution, and the governor and attorney general chose not to appeal further.