Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gay Adoption Ban in Florida Goes to Appeals Court

The Florida state court of appeals heard arguments in Miami yesterday about last year's ruling that struck down the law barring gay couples from adopting.

Last November, Miami-Dade County judge Cindy S. Lederman ruled that the sweeping ban, often called the strictest is the nation, is unconstitutional.

Florida is the only state that excludes all gay men and lesbians from adopting, though it allows gay and lesbian foster parents. Last year, voters in Arkansas passed a measure forbidding adoption by single people after a court there dismissed a state rule excluding gay people from fostering children.

Judge Lederman ruled that the ban violated the equal protection requirement of the Florida constitution and contradicted the state policy of finding permanent homes for children. The judge said there was “no rational basis” for preventing gays and lesbians from adopting.

The three-judge panel will decide the fate of two half-brothers who say they want to be adopted by the foster father who's raised them since 2004. The foster father, Martin Gill of North Miami, can't adopt under state law because he's gay. Lederman's ruling allowed Gill, who has been in a long-term relationship with a partner, to adopt the two brothers.

Some legal observers say the case is likely to arrive before the Florida supreme court. That court upheld the ban in 1995.

To read more about this story, click here for The Miami Herald article, and to read more about the original November ruling that called the law unconstitutional, click here.

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