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The Florida House Judiciary Committee voted 11-4 in favor of the Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies bill on April 2.

The Conscience Protection bill would allow adoption agencies to deny placing a child with a family or couple if they feel placing the child would conflict with their religious beliefs or moral code.

The Judiciary Committee heard from 23 Florida citizens, most of whom opposed the bill and asked what is the bill’s true intent. Carlos Smith of Equality Florida asked the Committee to consider does this bill hurt or help the children.

“This bill will let agencies put their religion first and the children second,” said Michelle Richardson of ACLU of Florida, echoing many arguments that this was just a way to leaglly discriminate against LGBT couples.

“Let us be clear what this bill really does,” said Rep. Dave Kerner (D). “It discriminates against gay folk. We should be thanking them for adopting, not continuing an antiquated belief that gay people don’t make good parents.”

Kerner then said to all gay adoptive parents listening to the broadcast or at the proceedings “thank you for what you do.”

The bill will now move forward in the House during a legislative session that continues to push through anti-gay discrimination bills, yet has done little to advance pro-LGBT bills.

The sentiment for most in attendance was when it comes to a child needing a home, that love is the most important thing.

“Me and my brother were placed with foster kids when i was younger,” said 10-year-old Nathaniel Gill. “We had two dads and we were happy.”

From our media partner Watermark