(November 26, 2008)
(MIAMI) Equality Florida joins with the Fair Adoption Coalition and the Florida ACLU in celebrating Tuesday’s court ruling that declared Florida's 30-year-old anti-gay adoption ban unconstitutional. In a 53-page ruling, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said, "It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent.''
As a result of Judge Lederman’s decision, Frank Gill, a gay man from North Miami, will move forward with the adoption of his two foster sons, 8 and 4 year-old half brothers. Gill has raised the boys since 2004.
“Two Circuit Court Judges have now concluded that the best interest of these children is served by allowing qualified gay foster parents to adopt,” said Brian Winfield, spokesperson for Equality Florida. “Last year, nearly 200 children aged out of Florida’s foster care system without ever being adopted. Thanks to Judge Lederman’s thoughtful decision, these two boys will grow up knowing the security of a forever family.”
Tuesday’s decision is the second of its kind in recent months. In September, Florida Circuit Court Judge David J. Audlin Jr. also ruled Florida's infamous, anti-gay adoption ban "unconstitutional."
In his ruling, Judge Audlin said the ban violates the Constitution's separation of powers by preventing decisions from being made on a case-by-case basis, and for the betterment of each child. He added that the ban contradicts state law by singling out one group for punishment. Most importantly, Judge Audlin declared that this adoption was clearly in the child's best interest.
Equality Florida has been working with our legislative allies in Tallahassee for the past 3 year to undo the harm caused by Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban. We are working toward the day when "best interest of the child" is the only criteria judges use to place children in loving, nurturing and permanent homes.
Today's ruling adds one more crack to the crumbling, bigoted foundation on which Florida's disgraceful, 30-year-old anti-gay adoption ban rests.
The ACLU of Florida represented Gill while the Florida Attorney General's Office, representing the Department of Children and Families, opposed the adoption. Representatives of the Attorney General said they would file an appeal.
Equality Florida is Florida’s only statewide human rights organization dedicated to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building a state of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.