Faith Based Agencies at Risk After Governor Signs HB 7013

BREAKING NEWS:

GOVERNOR SCOTT APPROVES BAD ADOPTION BILL LEAVING FAITH BASED FOSTER AND ADOPTION AGENCIES AT RISK OF LEGAL ATTACK

One of Florida’s leading advocates on the issue says, “We are profoundly disappointed…”

(Tallahassee, FL) Thursday, June 11, 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law and approved a bill which removed Florida’s long standing law prohibiting homosexuals from adopting which also leaves Florida’s faith based adoption agency at risk of being legally attacked and shutting down.  Catholic Charities and other faith-based agencies have closed in Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Washington, DC for similar reasons like having polices preferring placements of children with married mothers and fathers.

John Stemberger, President & General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council released the following statement about the Governor’s decision:

“We are profoundly disappointed in Governor Scott’s signing and approving this bad bill.  First, the Governor’s office promised a face to face meeting with adoption and foster care leaders to fully brief him before making a decision, but that never happened.  Second, the decision is an unprincipled capitulation of the rule of law because it removes a law from the books before a court of the highest jurisdiction has spoken.  There is currently a split between the Second District Court of Appeals and Third District Court of Appeals on whether Florida’s longstanding ban on homosexual adoption was constitutional.  As an example, Congress does not immediately amend the U.S. Code just because the Ninth Circuit Court in California issues a lopsided liberal decision finding some statute unconstitutional; this is particularly true where there are conflicts between jurisdictions and the Supreme Court has not spoken.

His letter explaining the decision even recognizes the threat that has been created by his signing of this bill and calls for the Legislature to ‘take further action to make clear that we will support private faith- based operators in the child welfare system and ensure that their religious convictions continue to be protected.’  We certainly hope that since Governor Scott’s decision created the risk to these agencies, that he will use political capital and make conscience protection a top priority for passage in the 2016 Legislative Session.”

stem on bad bill.jpgJust days ago, Stemberger released a 5 minute video statement explaining this issue and asking Floridians to lobby Governor Scott to veto the bill.  The statement explains the nuances of this issue and why faith-based child care agencies are now at risk because of the Governor’s decision.  It can be seen here.

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