Florida Appeals Court: State Adoption Ban Unconstitutional

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

A Florida appeals court in Miami unanimously ruled that the state’s ban on gays adopting children is unconstitutional.

In the court’s 3-0 decision (PDF: 107KB/42 pages), the judges examined Florida’s adoption law which calls for a case-by-case examination of the prospective adoptive parents in order to determine their individual suitability to become a parent. Single adults are allowed to adopt, HIV-positive are allowed to adopt, and the court noted that even those with a history of child neglect are able to adopt after following a laborious process. There was only one lone exception to Florida’s case-by-case consideration for adoption: “Except for homosexual persons, there is no automatic, categorical exclusion of anyone from consideration for adoption.”

The Court also noted that gay people are not excluded under Florida law from becoming parents by other means. They are allowed to become foster parents, and Florida law also allows guardianship and custody of gay parents over children. The court concluded that “It is difficult to see any rational basis in utilizing homosexual persons as foster parents or guardians on a temporary or permanent basis, while imposing a blanket prohibition on adoption by those same persons.”

The court took particular note of the state’s “expert witnesses” in support of the adoption ban. The court noted that Dr. Walter Schumm, who has defended the research of discredited anti-gay extremist Paul Cameron, was not a psychologist and was “of no assistance to the Department’s argument.” As for George Rekers, who was later revealed to have hired a rentboy to accompany him on a European vacation, the court took special note that Rekers research relied heavily on Cameron’s discredited work. And in particular, the appeals court took special efforts to dissect the Florida Dept. of Children and Families’ extremely selective citing and outright distortions of other social science research, noting that some of the research actually reached conclusions that were the opposite of the Department’s assertions.

The court concluded by declaring that the state’s ban on gays adopting children was a violation of the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution.

So far, we have not heard whether the State intends to appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court.

Bernie

September 22nd, 2010

Well, Thank God!

Now if we can just rid the world of all the bigots.

Jim, one question though….the quotation…”Except for homosexual persons,”…what does that imply? What am I missing here in the legalese? Why the insertion of that clause?

RSVP, Mon Ami.

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

The court found that under Florida law, there was only one exception to the case-by-case investigations demanded by the state legislatures. Gay people weren’t allowed to even undergo those case-by-case investigations no matter their background. The court found that this lone exemption was unconstitutional.

Timothy (TRiG)

September 22nd, 2010

Bernie,

“Except for homosexual persons, there is no automatic, categorical exclusion of anyone from consideration for adoption.”

As the law currently stands, there are many people who won’t be allowed to adopt, but no one, apart from gay people, is automatically excluded. Everyone, apart from gay people, will be considered for adoption.

The court is declaring that this law must change.

TRiG.

Bernie

September 22nd, 2010

Jim, and Tim,

Thank you for the clarification, and the education.

Keep up the good work, and Peace!

tavdy79

September 22nd, 2010

Doesn’t Charlie Crist has final say over whether or not an appeal can be lodged? He’s said only recently that he supports the effort to remove the gay adoption ban in FL, so I can’t imagine him allowing an appeal to go ahead if he can prevent it. Crist’s term as governor doesn’t end until January 4th next year, which is about when he’d be due to take his seat in the Senate, so it’s not as if his successor could move to appeal.

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

tavdy79, that’s a good question. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to it. The lawsuit is against the Florida Dept. of Children and Families. I don’t know if the governor has the power to order the department not to appeal.

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

I believe the Governor does have that power. A few days ago he announced that he was considering abandoning the appeal at the appellate level but pro-gay folk persuaded him that it was better to let this court confirm the lower court.

Matt

September 22nd, 2010

Between this court case and those against Prop 8 and DADT, we clearly see that glbt citizens want to fit into the conservative model of citizenship- get married, start families, support and defend their country. To deny them the ability to do this is UNAMERICAN.

Mage

September 22nd, 2010

Personally, i go for equality for both sexes and the likes. It’s good for children to find a home they can call their own but what bothers me is the children’s social norm for this matter. I respect that even hetero’s doesn’t always do good sometimes and i think it would be best to talk to these children about this matter little by little until they understand the situation and the why’s.

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