Republican Florida Governor Charlie
Crist appears to be softening his stance on gay adoption.
Florida remains the only state in the
nation with an outright ban on gay adoption. Several states have
banned gay adoption in a roundabout way – Arkansas being the latest
– by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and prohibiting
unmarried couples from adopting.
The governor set off on a four city
media tour to promote adoption on Wednesday after declaring July 22
Explore Adoption Day.
Gay rights groups had blasted the
governor's initiative earlier in the week.
“If Governor Crist truly believes in
helping the thousands of Florida children who are awaiting adoption,
he should be supporting legislation to repeal Florida's ban on
adoption by gays and lesbians,” the American Civil Liberties Union
of Florida said in a statement Monday. “It is disingenuous to urge
the expansion of adoption, and at the same time ban an entire segment
of eligible and qualified adults from being able to adopt.”
Crist, a U.S. Senate candidate, hinted
he might support legislation that lifts the ban.
“I'd have to think about it,” Crist
told reporters Wednesday after a press event at the governor's
“He's always said in the past that
the supports the ban,” Robert Rosenwald, an ACLU attorney told the
Tallahassee Democrat. “The fact that the governor is now
willing to reconsider the issue, we can work with that.”
Democratic lawmakers Representative
Mary Brandenburg of West Palm Beach and Senator Nan Rich of Weston
are sponsoring the legislation that repeals the gay adoption ban
enacted 32 years ago.
The law also faces serious challenges
in the courts. Last year a Miami-Dade circuit judge issued a ruling
that found the law to be unconstitutional and to have “no rational
basis.” The lawsuit is expected to reach the Florida Supreme