April 2, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The following is a statement from the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops on HB 7111, Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies, passed today by the Florida House Judiciary Committee:
HB 7111 filed by the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee and Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) establishes conscience protections for adoption agencies in Florida.
This proposed legislation preserves the status quo with respect to agencies currently placing children for adoption. It adds no new barriers to adoption and foster care placement, but ensures that licensed entities that have served the best interests of Florida's children for decades may continue to operate into the future.
For instance, agencies that establish policies to prefer placement with married couples should be protected. Agencies that give preference to placing children in homes with both a mother and a father should be able to do so. The measure does not prevent adoption by otherwise qualified adults who can and do work with other agencies today.
In an environment that is increasingly intolerant of the exercise of religious principles and beliefs, the bill preserves the freedom of religious organizations to place Florida's children in need of adoption with loving families. We are grateful to the HHS Committee and Rep. Brodeur for advancing this important legislation.
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The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.