"Anti-Sharia" law comes before Florida Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday

One of the bills that will be discussed this Tuesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Tallahassee is Senator Alan Hays' SB 386: Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases, aka the "Anti-Sharia" law.

It's the fourth year in a row that Hays has attempted to pass legislation aimed at banning the use of Sharia laws in the court system, and it's being opposed this year by the Florida Family Rights Coalition, comprised of the Anti-Defamation League, the ACLU, the Community Business Association of Florida, and Emerge USA, a grassroots organization focusing on the Muslim, Arab and South Asian American communities.

If passed, the bill would have outlawed the use of “foreign law” in family court cases.
"I would say that the bill’s sponsors themselves and all the lawyers working on this issue have yet to be able to present one issue in our Florida court system where a judge decides to overrule someone’s constitutional rights to apply a foreign law," says Laila Abdelaziz, regional director for Emerge USA. 

The proposal has come extremely close to becoming law during the past two legislative sessions. In 2012, the bill died in the Senate during the last night of session.

Abdelaziz calls the law "a vaccine to an issue that does not exist, frankly, in our court system."

While appearing before the the Civil Justice Subcommittee last week, House sponsor Alan Combee (R-Polk County) admitted when asked by Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, that aren't any Florida cases that this bill would rectify,

One of the few organizations in Florida supporting the bill is the Florida Family Association, led by Tampa's David Caton, best known for his extremely conservative view — some would call it hateful— on the LGBT community.The proposal has come extremely close to becoming law during the past two legislative sessions. In 2012, the bill died in the Senate during the last night of session.

Opponents say the bill is a piece of model legislation drawn up by noted anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi. Similar legislation has been enacted into law in several states, including Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota and Oklahoma. In the Sooner state, however, a Federal Judge struck down the law, saying it violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]