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Christian Conservative Rethinks Gay Adoption

Florida House of Representatives

After delivering a heart-wrenching speech on the House floor, Republican Dennis Baxley quietly changed his vote for a gay adoption bill. The staunch conservative from Ocala says prayer led him to a change of heart.

A former director of the Christian Coalition, Baxley was one of several conservatives who voted for a mostly symbolic measure to lift Florida’s 1977 gay adoption ban. The controversial provision was added to a bill that awards state workers cash for adopting a child.

“Friday morning I woke up with moral clarity that, you know, what is a wonderful bill has pushed me into a positon of affirming homosexuality with this amendment and I just can’t stay there.”

The gay adoption ban was overturned by the Third District Court of Appeal in 2010. Baxley is running for a state Senate seat, but he denied that his vote change was quote “damage control.”

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.