Florida House approves bill that would remove gay adoption ban from state law

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. BRENDAN FARRINGTON [ap]

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that would create incentives to adopt children in state care passed the House on Wednesday on a vote made much closer because of opposition from conservative Republicans who don’t want gay couples to adopt children despite an appeals court ruling five years ago that said they can.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

The bill strips language from state law that bans gay people from adopting children – a practice that has been allowed since the law was found unconstitutional in 2010.

It passed on a 68-50 vote with conservative Republicans joining some Democrats who opposed the bill for other reasons, including a provision that would allow foster children to be home-schooled.

Many of the Republican “no” votes came from the party’s most conservative members.

But other Republicans said the important part of the bill is helping kids find homes and that they weren’t bothered by the gay adoption issue.

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Among those was Republican Rep. Frank Artiles of Miami, the target of criticism from gay and transgender groups for a bill he is sponsoring that would ban transgender people from using public bathrooms assigned to the gender they identify with.

Artiles said same-sex couples should be able to know the joy of parenthood and children should be allowed the opportunity to be in a stable, loving home. He said the ban was wrong.

“I am not a homophobe. I am not a transphobe. I am a father,” Artiles said.

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