Florida House panel approves bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse gay couples

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Private agencies would be able to cite religious or moral grounds to turn away same-sex couples seeking to adopt children under a bill that’s ready for a House vote.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill Thursday after emotional testimony that compared the legislation to Indiana‘s new religious objections law.

The hastily written bill was introduced mid-session, in response to the House unexpectedly voting to eliminate Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoptions.

The ban had not been enforced since 2010, when an appellate court ruled it unconstitutional, but it remained on the books.

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Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur said if gay couples want to adopt, they can go to the Department of Children and Families or a private agency that don’t have a problem with it.

Democratic Rep. Dave Kerner said the gay adoption ban was unconstitutional, and if agencies want to discriminate against gays, they shouldn’t be in the business.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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