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Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying

first_imgElder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Senior Editor The Bar’s Elder Law Section and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers have become the latest organizations to endorse the Family Law and Public Interest Law sections’ request to lobby for the repeal of the Florida law that bans gays from adopting.The FAWL executive council at a recent meeting endorsed a resolution supporting the two sections, which want both to repeal the gay adoption ban and adopt a best-interest-of-the-child standard.The Elder Law Section Executive Council decided at its October 4 meeting to support the two sections’ request to push their position at the legislature.The matter is pending before the Bar Board of Governors, which exercises a general oversight of lobbying by sections. The two sections presented their case to the Bar Legislation Committee in August, but the committee tabled the matter with members saying they were concerned the matter raised deep philosophical differences among Bar members.Under Bar policies, sections, which have voluntary membership and dues payments, are given wide latitude on subjects they wish to lobby. Those positions must not contradict a Bar-wide legislative position, and must not create deep philosophical divisions among Bar members. The sections must also make it clear they are representing only themselves and not the Bar as a whole.Legislation Committee members said they were not concerned with the propriety of repealing the ban on gay adoptions and having a best-interest-of-the-child standard, but were worried that the repeal issue could create deep philosophical divisions. Members suggested the two sections approach other sections for their views and support their contention that seeking the repeal would not produce deep philosophical divisions.The Public Interest Law and Family Law sections had planned to take their case to sections during the Bar’s General Meeting, but that was postponed because of hurricanes, and most sections did not meet during the rescheduled meeting.Evan Marks, chair of the Family Law Section, said the two sections have sent letters to other sections asking them to look at the issue.“Our goal is not to get every section to say that the gay adoption law should be repealed, although if they did, that would be wonderful,” he said. “At the very least we would like the sections to say this is not so divisive within a substantial section of The Florida Bar as to prohibit the Family Law Section from lobbying.”Marks said he was happy that FAWL and the Elder Law Section had acted. He noted the section executive council not only supported PILS and the Family Law Section lobbying the issue, but concluded that the issue was not divisive of Bar members. Both section actions were by unanimous vote.The Family Law Section has posted information about the issue at its Web site, www.familylawfla.org. The date includes 11 major organizations, from the American Medical Association to the American Psychiatric Association, that support gay adoptions.Marks said he doesn’t think the gay adoption issue is any more divisive than the Bar’s support a few years ago of merit appointments for all trial judges and its recent vote to oppose Amendment 3 — which limited contingency fees in medical malpractice actions — on the November 2 ballot.He also noted that as this News went to press, the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors was scheduled to debate the issue, and make a recommendation for the Board of Governors’ December meeting.So far, although several individual lawyers have contacted Bar leaders and written letters to the editor in the Bar News, no legal organization has voted to oppose the two sections’ requests, Marks said.Aside from the Elder Law Section and FAWL, the two sections’ efforts have also been endorsed by the Equal Opportunities Law Section and the Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee. November 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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