Admit to Being Wrong
A Quarter Century Ago They Voted for Florida's Gay Ban
Next Week Rosie O'Donnell puts Major Spotlight on Issue
Compiled by GayToday
American Civil Liberties Union
A former Speaker of the State House of Representatives and a former President of the State Senate, both of whom voted in favor of the law banning gay adoption, are among those who signed statements.
"The hysteria of the times led us to do the wrong thing," said Elaine Bloom, a former member of the House from Miami who voted in favor of the ban in 1977. Bloom, who helped the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Florida approach her former colleagues to sign the statements, recalled that Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusade - which produced some of the most notorious homophobia in U.S. history - was at its peak just as the gay adoption ban was being voted on by the legislature.
The lone member of the State Senate who spoke against the bill when it was being debated said today that he was encouraged by the former legislators' change of heart. "This law was always wrong, and it's good to see that it's now being seriously reconsidered," former Sen. Don Chamberlin of Clearwater said.
Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith added, "These former legislators have shown courage and leadership in stepping forward to right this wrong. Is there anyone left who can seriously defend this law?"
Statements were signed by: former Senate President (and former U.S. Congressman) Harry Johnston; former House Speaker Tom Gustafson; former House members Elaine Bloom, Tony Fontana and Barry Kutun; and former Senators Sherrill "Pete" Skinner, Paul Steinberg, Sam Bell and Sherman Winn.
ACLU on the adoption ban:
Mainstream children's groups opposing adoption ban: