Gay Adoption Ban Overturned
Now, of course, there will be a thousand appeals and whatnot before it's official, and every wacko across the nation will come here to protest. But it's a rare step toward progress on these issues, so cherish it while you can.
The law first came into effect in 1977, and for many years Florida was the only state to explicitly outlaw adoption by any parent who was open about his or her sexuality. Most mainstream studies on the subject find no measurable differences in mental or physical health of children raised by gay parents, but Florida's law stood for more than 30 years.
This particular case involved a gay man and his partner, who had raised two foster children for four years. Judge Lederman said, "these children are thriving. These words we don't often hear within these walls. That's uncontroverted."
"They're a good family. They're a family in every way except in the eyes of the law. These children have a right to permanancy. The only real permanancy is adoption in the home where they are thriving."
Today's ruling is the first to challenge the constitutionality of the law. The state had called two controversial and largely discredited scientists to the stand to defend the law, but apparently their testimony didn't dissuade the judge.
The ruling is likely to go to appeal and might reach Florida's supreme court, but Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, released a written statement hopeful that the court will uphold Lederman's decision.
"Countless child welfare organizations attest to the need to support LGBT parents and their families. The best interests of children should be decided by parents, families, professionals, and judges, not opportunistic politicians and interest groups who have long run campaigns demonizing our families. We at the Family Equality Council fully trust that the Florida State Supreme Court, should it hear this case on appeal, will see that the state has no compelling reason to overturn today's ruling, which evaluated the relationship between Frank Martin Gill and his two sons and, correctly, said, 'Yes, this is a family.'"
-- Kyle Munzenrieder