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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Indiana-style Discrimination in Florida?

Photo: The "Conscience Protection" bill (HB 7111) echoes Indiana's controversial measure and could impact same-sex couples wishing to adopt in Florida. Photo credit: nettsu/Flickr.com
Photo: The "Conscience Protection" bill (HB 7111) echoes Indiana's controversial measure and could impact same-sex couples wishing to adopt in Florida. Photo credit: nettsu/Flickr.com
April 6, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Only weeks after the Florida House of Representatives overturned a ban on gay adoptions, that same branch of government is trying to pass a law that grants private adoption agencies the right to steer children away from same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

The so-called "Conscience Protection" bill is sponsored by state Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford), who wants to protect religious freedom and says it holds up constitutionally.

"Homosexuals are not a protected class, they're not a suspect class, they're not a quasi-suspect class," says Brodeur. "They're a rational basis class, which receives the lowest level of scrutiny and certainly discrimination involving religion receives a much higher level. So, it has been upheld that this should be a good constitutional case."

Critics say the bill is designed to discriminate against same-sex couples wishing to adopt. Several of them stood up against the law during discussion in the House Judiciary Committee last week and said it was designed to echo Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

State Representative Dave Kerner(D-Lake Worth) represented the opposition, filing an amendment designed to gut its religious provisions.

"If you're an adoption agency that is going to discriminate against people with different sexual orientations than you, then get the heck out of that business," Kerner says. "The answer isn't to legislate discrimination. This is 2015. It has got to stop at some point."

Despite objections, the committee approved the bill and is now ready for a vote by the full House. The good news for opponents, the legislation has no sponsor in the Florida Senate and thus isn't likely to become law before the session ends in four weeks.

Phil Latzman/Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - FL