Friday, April 10, 2015
Michele Taylor - Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops
TALLAHASSE | The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) applauded the passage April 9 of HB 7111, Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies, by the Florida House of Representatives.
This legislation preserves the freedom of religious organizations to place Florida's children in need of adoption with loving families while adding no new barriers to the adoption process for any qualified Florida residents.
As noted in earlier debate in the House, which the FCCB echoes, “HB 7111 is a shield, not a sword.” The religious beliefs that this bill seeks to protect arise from the same deeply-held convictions that have prompted people of faith to serve the neediest of Florida’s children for decades. Conscience protections prohibit discrimination of religious adoption agencies by the state and recognize and respect their freedom to serve.
“Today’s passage of HB 7111 gives encouragement that the longstanding good work by people of faith to unite children with families through adoption and foster care will continue,” said Michael Sheedy, executive director of the FCCB.
The FCCB commends the Florida House of Representatives for passage of HB 7111, and lauds Rep. Jason Brodeur, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and co-sponsor of the bill, for championing critical conscience protections. The Florida Senate is urged to take up this measure and ensure the freedom to serve for private child-placing agencies.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski also commented: "HB 7111 in Tallahassee deservingly won passage. This legislation is not meant to prevent
adoption by otherwise qualified aduts who can and do work with the majority of
Florida's 82 private adoption agencies. But it does preserve status quo with regard to private child placement
agencies, (allowing them) to serve the public in accord with religious and moral convictions. HB 7111 shields religious adoption agencies
from being forced to either violate their religious beliefs or stop serving children
in need of loving mothers and fathers, as happened to Catholic Charities offices
in Massachusetts, Illinois and California when faced with similar