Celebrates National Adoption Day Around the State
(Tampa, FL, November 19, 2004) — Child welfare, social justice and faith organizations today announced the launch of the Coalition for Fair Adoption, a coordinated effort to repeal Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban-the only such law in the country. The new coalition represents 20 local, state, and national organizations working together to educate the public and the legislature about the harmful affect this law has on children.
“We believe it is past time for the legislature to repeal this state-sanctioned bigotry that serves only to shrink the pool of qualified adoptive parents available to children in need,” said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. “We are proud to work along side child advocacy and faith organizations in a united effort to give loving permanent homes to children languishing in state custody.”
In a ruling this past September, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Florida to remain the only state with a complete ban on gay adoption. The law passed in 1977 at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-homosexual campaign. A number of the legislators who helped pass the original law now regret that vote, including former Rep. Elaine Bloom. Rep. Bloom will be in Miami today, speaking in favor or repealing the ban at one of the coalition’s three press conferences around the state.
Various professional organizations have carefully studied the scientific research and issued policy statements supporting adoption by gay and lesbian people. These organizations include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychoanalytic Association, National Council of Adoptable Children, Child Welfare League of America, National Association of Social Workers, and others.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no credible scientific evidence that the sexual orientation of parents has any effect either on the quality of parenting or on the wellbeing of their children.
“There are over 4,000 children in Florida’s foster care system,” said law professor and child advocate Gerard Glynn. “The best interest of the child should be the only consideration when selecting good homes for these children.”
Gay and lesbian people currently raise children in Florida as biological parents, foster parents, legal guardians and increasingly as part of planned families through alternative insemination and surrogate parenting. Yet many of these children are also denied the permanency and security that can only come through adoption, including second-parent adoption.
“There is just no justification for Florida’s ban on gay adoptions other than impermissible prejudice and hostility toward gay people,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the Florida ACLU. “This ban harms children and must be repealed.”
The Coalition for Fair Adoption calls on all fair-minded Floridians to join our efforts. Contact your legislators and urge them to strike down the anti-gay adoption ban.
Organization’s interested in joining the coalition or wanting more information can contact Maria Bates, at 813.870.3735 x216.
Coalition Members (as of 11/19/2004)
Child Welfare League of America
National Association of Social Workers, FL Chapter
National Council of Jewish Women Public Affairs Network
Sun Serve (foster care agency in Ft. Lauderdale)
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Florida Women’s Consortium
Broward Women’s Emergency Fund
Planned Parenthood – South Palm Beach and Broward Counties
ACLU of Florida
Humanists of Florida
Family Pride Coalition
Human Rights Campaign
GLBT Parents of Tampa Bay
Orlando Gay Parents Group
SW Florida Rainbow Families
PFLAG West Palm Beach
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.