Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Excellent news!

From the Miami Herald today:

A Miami-Dade circuit judge Tuesday declared Florida's 30-year-old ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, allowing a North Miami man to adopt two foster kids he has raised since 2004.

Here is the full story. My favorite quote is:

The attorney general's office had argued that gay men and lesbians are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental illness or a substance abuse problem than straight people, rendering them less fit to parent -- especially children in foster care who already are under tremendous stress.

Well, that's just offensive. I know they don't have any credible medical research to back that up. Even if they do have some highly suspect research on their side, I know the majority of credible research refutes this claim. And even if it were true, it is not a justification for an all-out ban on gay adoptions. I would assume that the Florida Department of Children & Families already has a screening program in place to weed out potential foster and adoptive parents who have mental health issues.

The two young boys in this case, ages 4 and 8, have lived with Frank Gill and his partner for almost four years. Now I'm no math expert, but seems like that means the younger one doesn't know any other parents. According to the judge, it's uncontroverted that these two boys are thriving. What possible motivation could DCF have for wanting to remove these boys from a loving home in which they are thriving? What trauma would it do to the little one to take him away from the only home he's ever known? And what trauma would it do to the older boy, who sadly probably does remember something of his earlier life? How would that boy ever feel secure again if we take him away from the safe, loving home we put him in? It would just be cruel. Bravo to the judge for reaching the right decision. I do think it is not just the morally correct decision, but the legally correct decision. I don't think the state can even pass the rational basis test for this ban. There is no rational reason for the state to have a blanket prohibition against gays and lesbians adopting. Not liking "the gay lifestyle" (what the heck is "the gay lifestyle" anyway? Is there a "straight lifestyle?") is not a reason for denying all gays and lesbians in the state the chance to adopt.

This is only a district court ruling, so there will be appeals. Here's hoping this will be the case that will get up to the Florida Supreme Court so they can finally get rid of this terrible ban that certainly is not in the best interests of Florida children.


Dan said...

What's your take on the Arkansas amendment banning "unmarried couple adoptions"? They seem to get around the "gay" thing by making it "unmarried", but also reference "couples" specifically. So, a single man can still adopt, just so long as he never dates anyone until after he gets married?

S said...

I think the Arkansas amendment is wrong, as I blogged about back in August. It prohibits any unmarried cohabitating person from adopting, so it doesn't just affect gays and lesbians. Any single person can't live with anyone else until the adoption is final.

But the people behind the amendment have made it clear their aim was to prevent gay couples from adopting. They were clever in the way they wrote it as it makes it much tougher for opponents to make a federal constitutional claim. Bastards.

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