MEMBERS OF STATE BAR WANT TO END GAY ADOPTION BAN-Andrew Stelzer07/06/04
3 sections of the Florida state bar have voted to lobby for an end to the state ban on gay adoption. But first they must receive permission from the state bar association to do so. Since 1977, Florida law has prevented same-sex couples, or single homosexuals from adopting children. Carolyn Salsbury is the chair for the bars public interest section. Her section has supported exchanging the law for many years.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“We believe it to be a law thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an illegal one and an immoral one when children are in foster care and cant have an adoptive family.Ã¢â‚¬?
Salsbury is one of about 450 members of the public interest section of the bar.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“The public interest law section had long been known as the conscience of the bar, we want children to have a family instead of languishing in foster care.Ã¢â‚¬?
But now, the public interest section has been joined by the equal opportunity and family law sections in their desire to lobby state lawmakers to repeal the gay adoption ban; their proposal will be considered at the Bars board of governors next meeting later this summer. If they gain the barsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ approval, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean they will be lobbying on behalf of the entire bar, just their sections. Salsbury says her personal experiences as a lawyer have made her passionate about this issue.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thin people tend to frame the issue in terms of gay rights, but this is about childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rightsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a lawyer, my concern id for my child clients who are in foster car and who desperately need a home. What they care about is getting out of the foster care system.Ã¢â‚¬?
The bar has rejected the request to lobby on this issue in the past, but those requests came from only one section, not 3. And there is organized opposition to ending the ban, including Matt Staver the president of Liberty Counsel, an Orlando based non-profit whose mission statement says they are dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.
ACT-Staver Ã¢â‚¬ËœI believe that its very clear that children do best with a mom or a dad and that what FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s law seeks to foster.Ã¢â‚¬?
Staver says that allowing gay adoption will hurt childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chances of success, and lead to promiscuous behavior by adolescent girls.
ACT-Staver Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think that it would be inappropriate to say that because the foster care program should be reformed that we shouldÃ¢â‚¬Â¦we need to amend and streamline the adoption care system.
Carolyn Salsbury, chair for the bars public interest section, admits it will be an uphill battle to get the law repealed, but she believes they have the support of the citizens of Florida, who want whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best for children.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our section has tried twice in he past, and we were almost disbanded because of this in the past..
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœWe need to go and be in accordance with what other states allow, and let anyone adopt who can be a caring person and take care of a child.
But Staver disagrees, and says the political climate in Florida gives this campaign very little chance to succeed.
ACT-Staver Ã¢â‚¬ËœThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been efforts before to try and repeal this law, been upheld by several courts, I with the current makeup of the Florida legislature thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very little chance that this law will be repealed.
The 52-member board of governors will consider the request to lobby at their next meeting on August 15th in Ponte Vedra Beach.