Lawmakers by a 68-50 vote margin approved House Bill 7013 that seeks to revise Florida’s adoption laws.
Gay state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) introduced an amendment to HB 7013 that would repeal a 1977 law prohibiting gays and lesbians from adopting children. Florida officials have not enforced the statute since a state appeals court struck it down in 2010.
“All people who want to adopt should be judged the same way, with the best interests of children foremost,” said Richardson in a statement that Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, released after the vote. “My amendment ensures that all suitable adoptive parents are able to offer loving homes and the support of a permanent family. I’m glad to have worked with my colleagues in the House to make this change.”
Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Florida since January.
Attorney General Pam Bondi — a twice-divorced Republican — in her unsuccessful attempt to block gays and lesbians from marrying in the Sunshine State insisted that children raised by a mother and a father are better off than those raised by same-sex parents.
“The promotion of family continuity and stability is a legitimate state interest,” said Bondi in a May 2014 court filing. “Florida’s marriage laws, then, have a close, direct and rational relationship to society’s legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units.”
HB 7013 will now go before the Florida Senate.