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 children.”

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 southern states.

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 couples.

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.