Wednesday, September 22, 2010

PFLAG Applauds FL Court Decision on LGBT Adoption Rights

We are thrilled to have received news concerning an important ruling made by the Third District Court of Appeals in Miami on Wednesday morning. The ruling stated that Florida’s adoption ban on prospective LGBT parents is unconstitutional and affirmed the adoption of two foster children by a gay Northern Miami couple.

Martin Gill and his longtime partner began fostering their two children, one four-year old and one four-month old, in 2004. They arrived with medical problems and other needs; one of the children arrived wearing a dirty adult-sized t-shirt and sneakers four sizes too small. Both children were suffering from ringworm and the four-month-old suffered from an untreated ear infection. The four-year-old did not speak and his main concern was changing, feeding and caring for his baby brother. According to the case report, the two children thrived in Mr. Gill’s household. In 2007, Gill filed a petition to adoption, and the case has made its way through the courts since that time. Many believe the case will eventually wind up in Florida’s Supreme Court.

The unanimous opinion was agreed upon by the three judges who reviewed the case, Gerald B. Cope Jr., Frank A. Shepherd and Vance E. Salter, who wrote a concurring opinion. “Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents,” the opinion states. “No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument…To the contrary, the parties agree `that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.’”

This ruling is a major victory for prospective adoptive LGBT parents in the state of Florida, which is the only state that affirmatively bans LGBT parents from adopting. As PFLAG congratulates Mr. Gill and all LGBT and allied Floridians on today’s victory, we look to the road ahead in hopes that the higher courts will agree with this decision and strike a law that has been on Florida’s books and conscience for thirty-three years. To learn more about PFLAG National’s work on adoption and foster care matters, please visit our website.

This post was written by Eric VanDreason, the newest edition to PFLAG National’s Policy Team. To learn more about Eric and his role at the National Office, please visit our staff page here.

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