Elaine Bloom, a Florida legislator for 18 years, voted to ban gay adoption in 1977. Since Primetime's broadcast shed new light on the issue, she is one of many taking action to change the law.
"We expressed our shame at having been part of the people who voted in 1977," said Bloom, who helped organize a group of former legislators who are pushing to have the ban overturned and replaced with a system that would approve adoptions on a case-by-case basis. "We said we were wrong and we meant it, and we hope that the courts or the legislature will improve the situation as rapidly as possible."
Former state Sen. Paul Steinberg and former state Rep. Barry Kutin agree with Bloom that the Florida law is now archaic, saying it was passed at a time when little was known about gay parents.
"I think there's more examples for studies to prove that children are in no way impaired or harmed by being adopted by a gay parent," says Kutin. "We did not have that information, or if that information was available, it was not made available to us in 1977."
If Steinberg could still vote, he too, would do things differently. "Look at the parents, look at the child, do what is best for the child. This law does not have to remain on the books of the state of Florida," he says.
Their change of heart stems from O'Donnell's public stand, and her interview with ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer on Primetime.
"I think a lot of people who may have had certain fears before this are now recognizing that if somebody like Rosie O'Donnell was seen as a loving parent, why even put any barriers in front of the possibility of letting a lot of foster children find loving and supportive homes?" says Bloom.
As for O'Donnell, she once said that she was going to support former Attorney General Janet Reno in her race against Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But she now says it's time to remove the issue from party lines, that making good homes available to kids in the foster care system should not be political.
"I have faith in him, Jeb Bush, believe it or not," she says. "I think he's able to understand that those children there need homes. So I have hope."
To keep up the pressure, she placed full-page ads in three Florida newspapers urging the law be changed. But despite the pressure, Gov. Bush will only say that the issue should not be political and should be addressed by the courts.
Proponents of the gay adoption ban have also continued to press their case with the public. Rep. Randy Ball, who defended the Florida law on Primetime, has written letters to several newspapers saying homosexuals lead "unstable lives, as a rule" and are "an abomination" in God's eyes.
On a personal note, O'Donnell says the interview and her public revelation of her sexuality have changed her.
"When I used to go the mall before my interview with you," she tells Sawyer, "everyone who saw me only saw a talk show host. Well, after the interview … they started to see me as a whole person, as a mother, as somebody with a partner, with a life … that's been unbelievably freeing."
Since the Primetime broadcast, major adoption organizations report a flood of inquires about foster parenting and adoption, along with thousands of hits on their Web sites.
The two gay men who took in five HIV-positive children, Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau, are still at the center of the challenge to Florida's law as they await a decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The family — who may lose their 10-year-old foster son now that he is no longer HIV-positive and considered adoptable — has been inundated with support from strangers, churches and friends.
"A few of Bert's friends called us and said they were really concerned and that they would happily adopt him for us and give him back — which was nice for 10-year-olds to be calling and offering that," says Croteau.
And 10-year-old Bert has not lost hope that he'll be able to stay with the only family he has ever known. "I am going to be adopted, because my parents Roger and Steven told me that. They told me they are going to fight and keep fighting until I am either 18, or I'm adopted," he says.