Hearing Synopsis By Cathy James
Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs Public Hearing #1 – Tampa Florida
Monday, October 22, 2007 6:30
to 9:00 p.m.
Public hearing #1 on foster
care and adoption was well attended in Tampa by the public but not by the
Committee. Only two of the eight Committee members were in
attendance, Senator Ronda Storms who chairs the Committee and Senator Nan Rich,
the sponsor of SB200 on Adoption. Secretary Bob Butterworth
of Florida Dept. of Children & Families was in attendence with two other
gentlemen whose names I did not catch. Over 200 people
attended the meeting and I would guess that about half of the public was there
in support of repealing the ban on adoption by gay Floridians.
I arrived about 45 minutes
before the hearing began and there were already about 30 people signed up to
speak. I had been told that there were no planned
presentations. It was to be first come, first serve with 3
minutes for each speaker. About 5 minutes before the hearing
was to begin, I was told that the Committee staff changed the rules to divide
the group into two topics and limit each speaker to two minutes.
The first topic was everything except the ban – foster parents, adoptive
parents, Community Based Care givers, etc. The second topic
was repealing the ban. The first topic was allowed 100
minutes and we were allowed 50 minutes.
OUR FRIENDS AND ALLIES IN
SOCR was successful in reaching
out to the two family groups in the area, Tampa Bay Family Pride (“TBFP”) and
Orlando Gay Parents Group. Rev. Michael Boone came forth from
the Orlando group and gave testimony that he was an award winning foster parent
in the past and is an adoptive parent from when he was married, but now as a gay
Floridian he is unable to adopt. Shelby Isaacson, from the
TBFP yahoo group and a former co-worker of mine, spoke about the fear she had
for her unborn child because her two moms would not be able to adopt in Florida
if anything happened to Shelby and her husband. Pastor Deb
Moss, was referred to me from a TBFP member and spoke eloquently about what it
means to be a 21st Century Christian. Attorney Jonas Urba
attended and spoke in favor of the repeal. Leigh Robinson
contacted me and shared a heartbreaking story of Junior and
his sisters. I also spoke mainly to thank Senator Rich for
her support over the years. Rev. Phyllis Hunt, Terry
Anderson’s sister and Claudine Suor were signed up to speak but were not
HRC's action alert to the Tampa Bay area had a banner saying
"This email is sent in partnership with Securing Our Children's
Rights, Inc "
Family Equality's alert said "Cathy James, board member of Securing Our Children’s
Rights, would like us to inform you that a pivotal hearing
will be held by Florida legislators in your area, addressing, among other
things, whether gays and lesbians should be able to adopt in the state of
About 50 SOCR logo 2” x 2” stickers were placed on lapels of our
A co-worker moonlights at WFLA on the weekends. He
interviewed me and the interview was run on the Florida News Network of 27
affiliates on the Saturday before the hearing.
with the Tampa Tribune called for a quote for their Breaking News online
Prior to the hearing I was interviewed by the Tampa Fox affiliate but
I think I landed on the cutting room floor.
Leigh Robinson and Cate Colgan from ImGay TV filmed the hearing and
interviewed several people after the hearing. To view videos if the
hearing, return to Pride Tampa Bays Eye on GLBT News Headlines and
click link View Videos at ImGay Click
Here. ImGayTV will be a powerful ally for SOCR.
Gay and Lesbian Leadership Smartbrief picked up the story
I will order a copy of the
audio tape from the Florida Senate this week.
accept second-class citizenship! Take action today.
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