Skip to comments.Florida Bar Rejects Homosexual Adoption Lobby. (Good News Update, Many excuses for doing right4kids)
Posted on 12/30/2004 5:19:32 PM PST by longtermmemmory
Although no one defended the law, the Bar Board of Governors has said three sections cannot lobby to repeal a state law banning homosexuals from adopting because it is too divisive among Bar members.
The board voted 31-13 at its December 10 meeting in Naples to accept the recommendation of the Legislative Committee and deny the request of the Family Law, Equal Opportunities Law, and Public Interest Law sections to seek to change the law. The three sections wanted to substitute a best-interest-of-the-child standard for the gay adoption ban.
The board devoted almost two hours of debate to the issue.
No matter how you feel about this, pro or con, some things are obvious, said board member Harold Melville. This is a highly emotional issue. Its a deeply philosophical issue and we are dealing with a [Bar] rule. That rule says if the issue carries the potential for deep philosophical or emotional division among a substantial segment of the membership, the section cannot be allowed to lobby for it.
The divisiveness [of the issue] is not a potential divisiveness; there is in fact a deep emotional and philosophical division among the members of the Bar. . . . Were not talking about whether we think this is a good law or a bad law. Were looking at our rules, and our rules say where there is the potential for deep division, the section must be prohibited from lobbying on it.
Board member Steve Chaykin disagreed. This is as bigoted and repugnant a law as there is, he said, adding if the term homosexual was replaced in the law with any ethnic, gender, or religious group there would be no question that the sections would be allowed to act. The issue, he said, is fair and equal access to the courts.
I am told that the argument [against the sections] is that the clause dealing with deep philosophical and emotional differences . . . is designed to protect the Bar from a structural integrity standpoint and to protect the Bar from its enemies, Chaykin said. But in the process, if we undermine the core values of this organization, . . . then what are we protecting other than a simple shell of what we believe is a core value of this organization? . . . I do not want this organization to simply stand by and say nothing.
He added that if it were a Bar position, he would agree taking action using mandatory Bar dues would be improper. But he said the voluntary sections, using their own money and not Bar money, should be able to act.
Evan Marks, chair of the Family Law Section, and board member Nancy Gregoire, liaison to the section, presented the three sections arguments to the board as they had the day before to the Legislative Committee.
What Im bringing to you is not a request to endorse homosexual adoption, Marks said. Were asking for you to allow us . . . to lobby against a discriminatory law that says if you are a homosexual you cannot go into court and ask to adopt.
The state already pays homosexuals to be foster parents, and Florida is the only state with an outright prohibition against gay adoptions, he said.
He and Gregoire said only about 50 letters had been received against the sections proposed action, and that wasnt enough to constitute a substantial segment of the Bar to meet the divisive standard. Gregoire said the opposition fell into two categories: those who think the issue is divisive and those who have a moral opposition to gay adoptions.
This is a legal issue, and the reason we have the right to address it is the right of children to have access to the courts, she said. Why does not that child have a right to go to a judge and say, You, the judge, decide if this is in my best interest.?
Gregoire also argued those who have opposed the sections for moral reasons have in fact forced the Bar into a moral position. Dont make us muzzled because those few folks want us to be, she said.
The board heard that the three sections were being supported by the Elder Law Section and by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. But the Trial Lawyers Section and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section both discussed the issue and declined to take a stance. And the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors debated the issue and recommended that the three sections be turned down because of the divisiveness.
YLD President Mike Faehner told the board there was no better example of the emotion and divisiveness of the issue than the reaction to the YLDs review. Although the YLD based its advice on a rigorous and neutral analysis of the law and Bar policies, he was called a Nazi and homophobe by other lawyers who contacted him after the vote.
I didnt think this was an emotional debate, Faehner said. I was wrong.
Opponents of the sections said many legislators and even many Bar members do not understand the difference between the Bar as a whole and sections taking a position, and would see the sections as representing the entire Bar. They also said regardless of personal feelings about the law, it was wrong to nullify the Bars procedures and rules.
Board member Ervin Gonzalez said he asked hundreds of lawyers about the issue and was overwhelmingly told the Bar should not get involved. He noted the rules might have prevented the Bar 50 years ago from taking a stance on Brown v. Board of Education, but said probably a majority of the board would have individually supported it. Section members can still do that without any board action, he added.
Im saying please stand and fight this discriminatory law and do not allow The Florida Bars silence on this to be a mandate for you, Gonzalez said. Do not ask The Florida Bar to take a position that it cannot take because of our internal rules and bylaws.
Board members Jesse Diner and David Rothman said they intended to take Gonzalez advice and contribute time and money to repeal the law, but added they felt compelled to obey Bar rules.
While the adoption ban is bad, If we dont follow the law in changing the law, are we any better? Rothman asked. Im going to vote against their proposal, but I will contribute and go to Tallahassee to argue for the repeal of that law. There will be a time when we can say its not divisive.
I dont like the [divisiveness] rule and I abhor that this statute is on the books, Diner said. I live in a neighborhood with a large gay population, and I hate that I have to tell them I voted against this. But I dont have the right to nullify this rule.
Supporters argued the real issue is not divisiveness but about equal access to the courts which should not be a controversial issue to Bar members. They also questioned whether the Bar can avoid the issue.
Board member Chris Lombardo noted the Bar, in rule 4-8.4, prohibits discrimination by lawyers on a variety of grounds, including sexual orientation. He said that could make a lawyer liable to discipline if he or she went to court to oppose an adoption because a would-be parent is gay.
Were already in this fight; were already there, Lombardo said. A gay person who is married to a straight person and is a parent can divorce and get custody. How do you square that with the ban on gay adoption?
This law is improper. Its not a question of morality; its a question of whats right. We do not support discrimination in any form. We need to take a position and get it over.
Board member Henry Latimer said hes heard the divisiveness argument used before, as justification for not taking action on gender and racial discrimination issues.
I take no position on the right to adopt or not to have the right not to adopt, but the right to speak out against it is something that should be inviolate, he said. The time is always right to do the right thing. What is morally right takes precedence over something thats ambiguous. . . . We should have the courage to protect that right and not use the technical definition of not addressing issues because theyre divisive.
The board vote approved the motion of the Legislative Committee, which had voted unanimously to reject the sections requests. But the committee also specified in its motion that the sole reason for the rejection was of the Bar policy prohibiting sections from engaging in legislative activities that have the potential to cause deep emotional and philosophical division among a significant portion of the Bars membership.
Under court rulings and Bar rules and policies, the Bar, because of its mandatory membership, is limited in what political positions it can take. Those are generally limited to items related to improving the delivery of legal services and the oversight and regulation of the legal profession.
Sections, which have a voluntary membership, are given a wider latitude in lobbying positions, although they must use only section money and no Bar funds. Sections generally can lobby on any issue as long as it does not conflict with a Bar-wide position, falls within the sections purview, and does not violate the divisive standard.
I will also post the family law sections defiance of the Bar on their web site.
The really amazing fact is the outright defiance of the board against the MAJORITY of the membership in opposing the bar's involvement on this. The pro-homosexuals are trying to excuse all opposition as just religious right. (one wacko lawyer I spoke to call them taliban christians, typical liberal ignorance)
IT IS WORTH NOTING THE LEGSLATIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMENDED THE BAR NOT GET INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE. The board of governors voted 31 to 13 to adopt the recomendation. MANY OF THE LAWYERS INVOLVED IN THIS HAVE A FINANCIAL INTEREST IN LEGAL FEES GENERATED WITH CHANGING THE ADOPTION LAW. (They say its not baby selling but there is no "free" adoption)
Giving the Family Law section permission would have involved the Mandatory Bar. Even if no money changed hands it would appear to the public as the mandatory support giving financial support.
I want to get this up so I will post and add on.
Ping list request
Actually if you want to rant please do so at
This is the president's email and she needs to get the family law section in line to change their website.
The Board of Governors said NO and yet that section DEFIES the board.
lj will be gone from FR for a short while. I'm the volunteer until little jeremiah gets back online.
If you want on/off the list let me know.
...if the term homosexual was replaced in the law with any ethnic, gender, or religious group..."
OMG, do they actually believe that butt pirates and muff pirates, queer is the same as a gender or race or religous group?
yes they do.
These lawyers are totally out of touch with any sense of normalcy or reality.
This is not just politics, this is a religion to them because they believe this is their calling.
The ABA model divorce code even envisions standing for homosexual sex partners to have child visitation rights when a divorcing spouse comes "out". (ie husband comes during divorce and male sex partner will have visitation standing. This is for when the husband dies of aids or something.)
What gets me is the family law section STILL is petitioning to undo the prohibition.
BTW Six (6) states have restriction on homosexuals adopting children. Two (2) have outright prohibitions.
We should expand that after homosexusexual marraige amendments.
And bans on homosexual foster parenting should be enacted as well.
Child molestation (of any variety) should be a Capital crime punishable by death. Especially if the perp is a parent, adopted parent, or foster parent.
She is the classic bleeding heart liberal and, politically, we disagree on just about everything and anything.
However, I was stunned to discover that she shared my concern for children either fostered or adopted by gay couples (allowed in Kansas).
She just doesn't believe it is "right" -- for the child or for the institutions that are supposed to be serving the child's best interests. Especially, when there is an ample supply of deserving heterosexual couples.
There might be hope for her yet...
Florida (statutory prohibition of adoption), Mississippi(statutory prohibition of adoption), Utah, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma limit adoption or foster parenting. Four states do this by statue, Arkansas does this by regulation.
Oaklahoma is interesting because it only recognizes a child has ONE mother and ONE father. Heather does not have two momies. (10 Ok. St. Ann. s. 7502-1.4 (2004).)
Utah accomplishes limiting homsexual adoption by not allowing adoption by non-married persons. IOW homosexuals who share quarters for maximizing recreational sex may not adopt. (Utah Code Ann. s. 78-30-1(3) (b) (2004).)
Don't let the MSM fool you, Florida is not alone in limiting homosexuals from children. Most states have some limitation which means that when push comes to shove a normal couple will be given preference to a homsoxexual vying for the same child.
This is why lawyers use private or direct adoption methods to bypass placing children with normal parents.
Kansans is another Heather only has one mommy state. KS Stat. 59-2113
There is one mother and one father for each child. No "recreational sex partner" adoptions.
This may be the one issue that helps move your sister in the right direction.
BTW 27 states either explicitly do not permit a homosexuals sex partner to adopt a child or just have case law which does not permit sex partner adoption.
Homosexual advocates used anti-gender bias law to say a mother and father means just two people not mother and father.
The remaining 23 states are either silent on the issue or have case law which has allowed homosexual sex partner adoptions.
It is really intersting who much of this date is kept out of the MSM.
Homosexuals pushing the homosexual agenda deserve nothing fair -they deserve to be eradicated from any public participation and discourse just like any disease harmful to society.
It tickes me off to no end that my dues had to go to debate this.
My dues go to host the family law section and give them a "home".
I want to see how fast the family law section removes their homosexual adoption page now that they are not allowed to lobby the issue.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.