A Florida state legislator seems to scoff at a 10-year-old boy as he curtails the boy’s testimony against a bill restricting same-sex couples’ adoption rights, Slate reported.
Footage from a state House Judiciary Committee shows the boy, Nathaniel Gill, beginning to explain his opposition to the measure, which would allow private adoption agencies to cite religious objections as a reason not to place a child with same-sex parents.
When he was 4 months old, Gill told the committee, his 4-year-old brother would care for him and beg for food for both of them, prompting the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) to place them in foster care.
“I was lucky to be placed with my brother, he was all I had, and he has looked after me since I was born,” Gill said. “In the home where DCS placed us, we had two dads. We were happy and liked our new home a lot.”
But seconds after mentioning being happy living with a same-sex couple, committee chair Rep. Charles McBurney (R) cuts him off.
“Mr. Gill, you’re doing a great job, but unfortunately your minute’s up,” McBurney says, refusing to grant the boy time to finish his story.
As Think Progress reported, the bill would allow agencies to opt out of any child placements that “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies” without risk of losing their operating license.
Opponents of the bill have called it “revenge legislation,” saying it came in response to a court case involving Gill’s adoptive parents, who were the plaintiffs in a suit challenging the state ban on same-sex adoptions. A state appeals court overturned that law in 2010.
Towleroad reported that the LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida posted a video showing Gill’s full testimony, including his statement that state officials wanted to separate him from his brother at one point because they felt his brother was “unadoptable.”
“They didn’t think anyone would want the two of us,” Gill says in the extended clip. “For me that would have been a horrible mistake. But somebody did want the two of us, my two dads. I didn’t want to get adopted by myself, I didn’t want a new family. My brother and my two dads were the only family I knew. Luckily for me, my dads were very stubborn. They fought the state for four years. They won and beat the law, and that’s how we made a forever family.”
Watch Gill’s encounter with McBurney, as posted online, below.
The boy’s full testimony, as posted by Equality Florida, can be seen here.
[h/t Addicting Info]