URGENT ACTION ALERT:
In order to protect the good work of these agencies and probably to more political reasons, the House has passed HB 7111 with specific conscience protection/religious freedom language for faith based adoption agencies that is more protective than Florida’s current religious freedom statute. Opponents of this bill, including Republican Don Gaetz are saying that current statute is adequate to protect these groups , but as shown in this legal memo , that is NOT the case. That bill is in the Senate Rules Committee and may be up for a vote. It is CRITICAL that this passes bill passes out of Rules so it can go to the Senate floor. Both Catholic Charities and the Florida Baptist Children’s Home support this bill.
Call these State Senators who are members of the Senate Rules Committee and your own Senator and ask them to:
PLEASE VOTE YES on HB-7111 Conscience Protection for Faith-Based Adoption Agencies.
NOTE: This bill MUST pass through this committee, or it dies and will not be heard on the full FL Senate floor for a vote. Passing through this committee is the next step to passing this critical bill as a law to protect religious liberty.
Senator Don Gaetz (R) (850) 897-5747 Destin
Senator Bill Galvano (R) (850) 487-5026 Bradenton
Senator Jack Latvala (R) (850) 487-5020 Clearwater
Senator Garrett Richter (R) (850) 487-5023 Lehigh Acres
Senator David Simmons (R) (850) 487-5010 Altamonte Spgs
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) (850) 487-5030 Fort Myers
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) (850) 487-5040 Miami
Senator Tom Lee (R) (850) 487-5024 Brandon
Senator Joe Negron (R) (850) 487-5032 Palm City
Senator Bill Montford (D) (850) 627-9100 Quincy
Senator Darren Soto (D) (850) 487-5014 Orlando
Senator Audrey Gibson (D) (850) 487-5009 Jacksonville
Senator Arthenia L. Joyner (D) (850) 487-5019 Tampa
- Faith based adoption agencies have closed down because of legal attacks after same sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington DC.
- This bill changes nothing, it simply just ensures that faith based child placement agencies will be able to continue serving children and families.
- This bill does not discriminate against anyone. It actually prevents discrimination against Christian and Jewish groups in Florida that help children.
- Existing laws protecting religious liberty are not strong enough to provide protection against legal attacks. Illinois had a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) similar to Florida’s and it was not strong enough to protect Catholic Charities from having to stop doing adoptions in that state.
- This bill acts as a shield and not a sword. It protects religious liberties of adoption and foster care agencies and does not hurt anyone.
BACKGROUND: The House and Senate have passed an adoption bill which removes Florida’s long standing prohibition of placing children with homosexuals for adoption. The removal of this section of Florida law leaves faith based child placement agencies vulnerable to lawsuits by homosexual activists who will claim these church based agencies “discriminate” for preferring married mothers and fathers in adoption and foster care placements. Both Catholic Charities and the Florida Baptist Children Homes are strongly in favor of this bill. The passage of HB-7111 Conscience Protections for Faith Based Adoption Agencies is a critical bill to ensure First Amendment Religious Liberties.
Extensive Staff Committee Analysis for this bill can be viewed here.