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“Shaming Unwed Moms Was The Law In Jeb Bush’s Florida”: He Allowed A Particularly Offensive Provision To Women To Become Law

Remember that time when Governor Jeb Bush allowed a bill to become law that required unwed, pregnant women to publish their sexual history in the newspaper in order to give their babies up for adoption?

No? Well, it happened.

But this was just the beginning of the weird parental follies of Florida in the early 2000s.

In 2001, Bush didn’t veto adoption-overhaul legislation that included a provision making it harder for unwed mothers to put their children up for adoption, as The Huffington Post recently reported.

And by taking a pass, he allowed a particularly offensive provision to become law.

This provision required any woman who wanted to put her child up for adoption, but who didn’t know who the father was, to take out an ad in a local newspaper listing her name and description, as well as the name and description of each possible father and the locations where the baby could have been conceived.

In other words, women had to broadcast her sexual histories to, well, pretty much everybody before attempting to find stable homes for her children.

The law’s sponsor, state Senator Walter Campbell, said the provision was designed to keep “potential biological fathers from coming back and taking children out of adoptive parents’ hands.” And the law didn’t include an exception for women who became pregnant because of rape.

“You cannot just allow someone to say they were raped and use that as an excuse not to provide a name,” said Deborah Marks, who helped draft the law, at the time.

Alvin Coen, a veteran adoption lawyer, told the New Pittsburgh Courier at the time that concerns about birth fathers interfering with adoptions were baseless.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the state House and by a 30-8 vote in the state Senate. Bush said he decided not to veto it because Campbell told him the newspaper-reporting language would get fixed. That didn’t happen. What did happen? More abortions. The Orlando Sentinel reported there were almost 2,000 more abortions in the first six months of 2002—after the legislation went into effect—than in the first six months of 2001.

After state courts declared the law unconstitutional, Bush signed legislation repealing it. The bill that took its place put the fathers-rights onus on potential fathers. The law still exists today.

“In place of the publication requirement, the new law establishes a ‘’father registry’ through which men who believe they may be fathers must provide the name, address, and physical description of the mother and the date and place where conception took place to protect their parental rights,” The New York Times reported.

This wasn’t the only time children’s issues have gotten the former governor in trouble. As governor, Bush drew sustained criticism for his adamant opposition to gay adoption. And Bill O’Reilly leveled harsh criticism at him after a young girl’s disappearance from the state’s foster-care system went unnoticed for years. Her death led to an overhaul of how the state handled foster care.

Basically, Florida men have some major issues when it comes to dealing with vulnerable children. And in the early 2000s, it appears Jeb Bush was no exception.


By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, June 10, 2015

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Adoption, Jeb Bush, Unwed Mothers | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“State-Sponsored Discrimination”: Florida House Passes Religious Exemption To Block Gay Adoptions

The Florida House on Thursday approved $690 million in tax cuts and a bill allowing residents fleeing hurricanes to carry guns without a permit, but the bill attracting the most controversy allows private adoption agencies to reject gay couples if they have a religious or moral objection.

The vote for that measure (HB 7111) was 75-38, with most Democrats opposing the bill, calling it state-sponsored discrimination.

Representative David Richardson (D-Miami Beach), likened the measure to the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in the 1960s, citing the sit-ins at the lunch counters of Greensboro, N.C., in 1960.

“If you’re open to the public, you’re open to the public,” said Richardson, the first openly gay member of the Legislature. “If the lunch counter’s open, it’s open for everyone.”

Republicans, however, countered that forcing religious adoption agencies to either go against their consciences or shut down would ultimately lead to less opportunities for children in need of foster parents. Also, gay couples can go to another of Florida’s 82 adoption agencies if they are refused, they argued.

Representative Scott Plakon (R-Longwood), suggested lawsuits were already being lined up to restrain religious adoption agencies from refusing gay couples.

“You may disagree with their beliefs, you may even think that they’re crazy, but they are their sincerely held beliefs,” said Representative Scott Plakon (R-Longwood).

Social conservative groups put pressure on Republican legislators after the House voted last month to strike down Florida’s ban on gay adoption. An appeals court struck down the provision in 2010 and the Florida Department of Children and Families doesn’t enforce the ban, but the statute has remained on Florida’s books.

The bill still needs to pass the Senate.

Most Democrats also objected to SB 290, which would allow residents under mandatory evacuation orders to carry firearms without a concealed weapons permit up to 48 hours after the order is given.

Representative Ed Narain (D-Tampa), said the bill would bring unintended consequences, especially for black males, similar to the “stand your ground” law.

“It’s the potential combination of these two (laws) that could mix and create a deadly scenario that none of us want to imagine or even consider,” Narain said.

But Republicans in favor of the bill said it was needed to protect property during hectic evacuation periods, especially firearms that aren’t protected through permits or licenses.

“What some people in this chamber don’t understand…is that you can’t get a permit or a license for a rifle or a shotgun,” said Representative Neil Combee (R-Polk City).

The bill passed 86-26 and now heads to Governor Rick Scott’s desk.

A bill garnering more bipartisan support was HB 7141, which cuts $690 million in taxes, mostly from cable, satellite, and phone bills. The cut to the communication services tax will save TV and phone users $470 million, with the average cable user spending $100 a month saving about $43 over 12 months. The cut is a top priority for Scott.

Although some Democrats bemoaned parts of the bill cutting sales taxes on gun club memberships and providing a sales tax holiday for some firearms and ammunition on July Fourth, the bill passed 112-3.

The Senate has advanced individual tax cut bills but because of the uncertainty surrounding the Medicaid budget that the chamber is waiting to pass its preferred tax-cutting measures.


By: Gray Rohrer, Orlando Sentinel (TNS); The National Memo, April 10, 2015

April 11, 2015 Posted by | Discrimination, Florida Legislature, Open Carry Laws | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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