Religious Freedom Restoration Act
By now you're aware of the Religious Freedom Restoration acts that have been introduced in other states, which make it legal to discriminate against LGBT citizens and refuse to do business with them in the name of religious belief. Florida’s House is considering a bill that would allow private adoption agencies to refuse to adopt children to gay couples based on religious belief. This, after the state’s longtime ban on adoption by same-sex couples was finally declared unconstitutional and unenforceable in 2010.
Earlier in this year’s legislative sessions, the House passed a bill that overhauled the state’s adoption and foster-care system, and included a provision that removed the gay-adoption ban language from law – it wasn’t enforceable and was therefore pointless to have any the books, anyway, so why not remove it? But then state Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford suddenly proposed a new bill – one that would be fully enforceable if passed – that would allow adoption agencies to turn away adoptive families based on “religious or moral objections.” The bill passed its committee and will likely be heard before the full House, though it doesn’t yet have a companion bill in the Senate. So hopefully it will become just another dismal memory of Tallahassee sessions past. Or will it?
There’s some concern that although this bill might not pass on its own, it could be added to the omnibus adoption bill that’s being considered by the Legislature now – the one that is now intended to remove the moot adoption-ban language from the books. If that happens and the package passes, gay families looking to adopt could find themselves selectively discriminated against – and, some fear, it could just be the beginning of a new trend of revenge legislation that makes it legal to discriminate against LGBT citizens and, it should be noted, people of other religions, for any old religious or “moral” reason at all.