Florida Ban on Homosexual Adoption Overturned After 31 Years
A Florida judge overturned a state law that stripped gays and lesbians of the right to adopt children, deeming the 31-year-old law unconstitutional. Florida is the only state in America which had specifically targeted and excluded homosexuals from adopting.
"There is no question, the blanket exclusion of gay applicants defeats Florida's goal of providing dependent children a permanent family through adoption," Judge Cindy S. Lederman wrote in her 53-page ruling.
"The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption."
The state attorney general's office has appealed the decision.
She said there is no moral or scientific reason for banning gays and lesbians from adopting, despite the state's arguments otherwise. The state argued that gays and lesbians have higher odds of suffering from depression, affective and anxiety disorders and substance abuse, and that their households are more unstable.
Lederman said the ban violated children's right to permanency provided under the Florida statute and under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Whether the ban violated the state's equal protection clause by singling out gays and lesbians should be considered, she said.
The ruling paved the way for Martin Gill to legally adopt two half-brothers that he and his partner have cared for since 2004. Fostering children was never specifically banned by Florida law, but legal adoption was. Some other states, rather than draft a law that disallows gays from legal adoption, have alternate legislation that prevents unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children, a law which offers an indirect way to prevent homosexual partners from adopting children.
Now that the attorney general's office is appealing the judge's ruling, Gill's official petition for adoption will be stalled until that appeal is settled, though the two children will remain in his care until then.