Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update on gay adoption in Florida

Marriage isn't the only front on which we have to fight for gay families to receive equal legal recognition. Florida still has a law on the books banning gays and lesbians from adopting. Back in November, I wrote about a Florida district court that declared Florida's 30 year-old ban on gays and lesbians adopting to be unconstitutional. Just last week, the case was argued in the state's appellate court.

As a refresher, Martin Gill has had foster custody of the two brothers since 2004, when the older was 4 and the younger was just an infant. The older brother has now officially lived with Martin Gill and his long-term partner for over half his life. The younger brother has no memories of any other family. The state of Florida's Department of Children and Families has no intention of removing the children from the home as the two boys are flourishing. They just can't approve an adoption because of Florida's archaic law.

At oral argument, one judge noted that it appeared the DCF wished the restriction was not in place because they said they would approve Gill's petition for adoption in a heartbeat otherwise. The Department stipulated at the trial court that the children are in a stable, loving home and that the couple have been model foster parents. (*Gasp* You mean gay people can be good parents?!) So this man has gone through all of the screening the state requires for him to become a foster parent. He's been so successful at fostering these two children that the department removed the children from the list of children for adoption. And everybody agrees that it would be devastating to the boys to be removed. The only thing preventing this man and his two sons from being legally recognized as the family they are is a dislike for gays.

The bottom line is that this law serves no rational state purpose; all it does is discriminate against gays and lesbians. I wish a Florida court had said so two decades ago, but better late than never. And now that a district court has finally taken the plunge and declared the statute unconstitutional, there is no just reason for the appellate courts to rule otherwise. I will be shocked if the appellate court can claim to find some rational basis for this law. Shocked and very, very disappointed. The people in Florida in charge of finding a good home for these two boys have done their job admirably and found them a home in which they have thrived. It would be a travesty if the boys were denied the security of legal adoption just because some people don't much like gays.

1 comment:

john said...

could not agree more. Its amazing how some people put their own ignorant views out there even if it hurts children. I hope they can sleep well at night. I always want to know how many children they actually adopted to decide that a child in foster care is better off then being adopted by a gay/lesbian couple. My guess is none.

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