NEW CAMPAIGN TO END FLORIDAS GAY ADOPTION BAN-Andrew Stelzer

11/19/04

Saturday is National Adoption day. To celebrate early, dozens of families officially adopted children at the Criminal justice center in Clearwater this morning. But outside the building, a contingent of social justice groups launched the coalition for fair adoption; a group that will be pushing to have the Florida law changed which makes it illegal for gay couples to adopt children.<p

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ACT “Inside this courthouse, hundreds are having adoption. And we celebrate..<p

Robin Rosenburg is with the Florida National Council of Jewish Women<p

ACT But we can’t forget thousands of other who are denied protections because Florida has a ban on gay adoptions…�<p

The national council of Jewish women is one of 20 organizations, which are already part of a campaign to change Florida’s 27-year-old gay adoption ban. Becky Steele from the Tampa Bay ACLU noted that Florida is the only state in the country that bans gay people from adopting children<p

ACT “The law shows no legitimate purpose, it was passed in 1977, the purpose is not to protect children, the senate sponsor said we are tired of you go back into the closet…the only group of people who are banned are gay people…not child abusers not terrorists, single people can do it, what the courts are asked to do, case by case, in every other case…�<p

Steele also pointed out the apparent hypocrisy between Florida foster care and Adoption laws.<p

ACT “Gays can be foster, this shows that Florida knows they can be good parents, but this is irrational.<p

Kathy James is with gay parents of Tampa Bay, she is the partner of a woman who has a son.<p

ACT-James “I am the non biological mom of a 4 year old, I am prohibited from adopting my son. I have no legal standing, I am a momma, changed the class rabbits bedding…yet if my partner of ten years his mom, died tomorrow, everyone of you that is hetero sexual, but I couldn’t adopt him, but I would not, he’d be placed in foster care and cost the taxpayers, even though he has an employed parent, I couldn’t even request visitation…..also if I died, my son couldn’t get the inheritance, this is especially devastating…the legal parent is a stay at home mom. This is a family values issue….�<p

With much of the media claming that this months elections found religion, faith and morals motivating voters, Robin Rosenburg is with the Florida National Council of Jewish Women says the coalition will be calling on people to examine what those values mean in terms of providing for Americas children.<p

ACT--Rosenberg “Repeal of the ban is based on faith, as it says in genesis…male and female god created them…’ <p

ACT-Rosenberg ‘As religious people we oppose discrimination because the stamp is evident.we must care for those in our midst, we are taughtthat whoever brings an orphan, we would dishonor the faith by not being against this…�<p

ACT-Rosenberg “By categorically exclusion, Florida has created less parents parents…Florida’s law also hurts foster children, are deprived of the opportunity have permanent family..�<p

There were also press conferences in Miami and Orlando today to launch the Coalition for fair adoption. Nadine Smith is the Executive director of Equality Florida.<p

ACT--Smith “We are asking that people take an honest look—this ban is rooted in prejudice, and the children are paying the price, its not based on sound public policy…the nations, even legislators who passed it now say they were wrong, and caught in hysteria. D…do not allow bigotry to tie the hands of advocates..�<p

Senator Mandy Dawson introduced a bill last year to overturn the ban on Florida’s gay adoption ban, the new coalition will be trying to educate state legislators and get them to sign on to that bill or a similar one. <p

ACT-Rosenberg ‘We have been to..the legislators themselves are not aware of this, its not only for the pubic, we also have to educate the legislators<p

Megan Shaponik says the campaign may have to make a political compromise in order to overturn the law.<p

ACT “I’m the biological mom of a girl in a two parent household…I’ve talked to legislators from time to time, and they say the best home for a child is for a man or a woman..the best home for a child, is with parents that love the child, it doesn’t matter if its one or two…But it almost seems like its simpler to say sure that’s best, …well I think we are in a very hostile climate, I don’t feel that the best home, I don’t feel that 2 is best, from a politicians standpoint that’s how we will end up winning this battle, it will be framed as this is best for the children and that how it will come about..but through that it will benefit kids. <p

For more information on the coalition for fair adoption, call 813-870-3735 extension 252, or email adoption@eqfl.org

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