A Florida lawmaker has introduced a
bill that would repeal the 1977 prohibition that bans gays and
lesbians from adopting in the state, reports The Miami Herald.
The bill is sponsored by state Senator
Nan Rich, a Democrat from Weston. She has also filed a second bill
that would grant judges the discretion to determine adoptions solely
on “the best interests” of the child.
“Someone who is a good parent –
whether they are heterosexual or homosexual – that's what we should
be basing decisions on, not sexual orientation,” Rich told the
paper. “We need to be looking at what's in the best interest of
Florida remains at the epicenter of a
widening – and increasingly vocal – gay adoption battle.
Late last year, a Miami-Dade circuit
judge was the latest to disagree with Florida's 30-year-old ban on
gay adoption, enacted during the infamous Anita Bryant anti-gay
crusades of the 70s.
Judge Cindy Lederman's order allows
Frank Gill, 47, and his partner to legally adopt the 4- and
8-year-old half brothers they have raised since 2004.
Lederman's 53-page ruling found the law
to be unconstitutional and to have “no rational basis.”
That ruling is being appealed to the
Florida Supreme Court, but the debate has spilled over into several
Three states – Mississippi, Alabama
and Arkansas – now have laws that outlaw adoption by unmarried
couples. And Kentucky and Tennessee say they will join their ranks
this year. Arkansas' ban was approved by voters in November.
While the laws affect both gay and
straight couples, they target gay and lesbian couples who cannot
legally marry in those states. An effective catch 22 for gay
Senator Rich is the vice chair of the
Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, where the bill will
likely be heard. The committee is headed by Republican Senator Ronda
Storms and composed of three Democrats and five Republicans. Rich is
also a co-sponsor to legislation that would create domestic
partnerships for gay and lesbian couples in the state.