A House committee in Florida advanced a bill that would allow private adoption agencies to deny prospective parents on moral or religious grounds. HB7111 now heads to the full House in Tallahassee.
The state long denied adoption rights to same-sex couples, but this policy was ruled unconstitutional in 2010. The Florida House recently voted to alter state adoption laws to reflect the change -- and this angered conservatives, who then pushed for HB7111.
The legislation would deny prospective gay parents legal recourse if they're discriminated against at a private agency. Equality Florida also points out it would prohibit the state from withholding tax dollars from agencies that turn away gay couples.
"This is Indiana-style legalized discrimination plain and simple," Carlos Guillermo Smith, public policy specialist at Equality Florida, said in a statement. "But it's even worse, because this promotes state-sanctioned and taxpayer-funded discrimination. The legislators who voted for this bill know it's as indefensible as it is unnecessary. That's why they blocked an amendment that would have required businesses to state publicly, 'we don't serve your kind.' "
There are more than 14,000 children in Florida's foster care system, according to Equality Florida.