Conscience Protections for Adoption and Foster Care Agencies
Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee
on Monday, April 20
If your senator is on the Rules Committee, please take action today!
BACKGROUND: On April 9, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 7111 to establish conscience protections for private adoption and foster care agencies. The bill has been sent to the Senate and is on the agenda for the Senate Rules Committee on Monday, April 20 at 1:00 p.m. EDT
As a “shield not a sword”, HB 7111 protects religious adoption agencies from being forced to either violate their religious convictions or stop serving children in need of loving families. Catholic Charities offices in Massachusetts, Illinois and California faced with similar circumstances have had no choice but to severely restrict or discontinue their adoption services.
The bill adds no new barriers to the adoption process for any qualified Florida residents who can and do work with the majority of Florida’s 82 private adoption agencies today. Similar conscience protections are already in place in Florida law related to abortion, family planning, end-of-life decisions and participation in executions.
A separate adoption-related measure, HB 7013, which provides incentives for adoption and also strikes from Florida law a long-standing prohibition on adoption by homosexual persons, has passed both the House and Senate and will go to Governor Rick Scott for action. Although a 2010 ruling by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal has allowed adoption by same-sex couples to become the practice throughout our state, striking the ban without providing for conscience protections jeopardizes the freedom of religious adoption and foster care agencies to place children in loving homes in a manner consistent with the tenets of their faith. With the passage of HB 7013, conscience protections for adoption agencies are crucial.
TAKE ACTION NOW: If your senator is a member of the Rules Committee, it is critical that you take action now to urge him or her to vote ‘YES’ on HB 7111. Even if you have sent an earlier message on this issue, your senator needs to hear from you again.
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