Rosie O'Donnell notes backlash in adoption battle

Rosie O'Donnell said she's begun to feel the sting of leading the fight to allow gays and lesbians to adopt children in Florida, noting that a medical association recently rescinded an invitation to speak at their convention. "They said they were afraid of protesters," O'Donnell told 200 women Sunday at the two-day Wise Women Weekend retreat in Miami Beach. "I'm not used to being considered controversial." O'Donnell also responded to her opponents' criticism that her crusade is a gay issue. "I have no homosexual agenda," she said. "I have a child agenda."

The 40-year-old talk show host and comedian, who has a home in Miami Beach and has adopted three children outside Florida, said she learned about the ban when she applied to adopt a Florida foster child in her care. "It stunned me to know that Florida, the state where I live, is the only one that does not allow gay adoptions," said O'Donnell, who came out in March. Florida passed the gay adoption ban in 1977 at a time when entertainer Anita Bryant went on a crusade against a Dade County ordinance protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.

Last August a federal judge in Miami upheld the law in a case brought by two gay men who wanted to adopt foster children already in their care. The decision is being appealed. O'Donnell's efforts to win support for a possible repeal of the law received little support in the Florida legislature in March.