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Florida Overturns Ban on Gay Adoption


adoptionA Florida Circuit Court has ruled that homosexuals can now legally adopt children in the state of Florida. (Thanks to How Appealing for the story). Florida was the only remaining state in America that banned people from being adoptive parents based solely on their sexual orientation. The court’s historic decision overturned the law on state equal protection and substantive due process grounds.

A Florida couple sought to adopt two foster care children that had been in their foster care for four years. Even though adoption officials unanimously agreed they were qualified and excellent parents, state law compelled them to decline their application because they were gay. (The particularly alarming facts concerning the children’s prior neglect can be found in the opinion here.)

The couple challenged the law prohibiting their adoption as unconstitutional. They claimed it violated fundamental rights guaranteed to children by Florida law and state equal protection guarantees. The court agreed.

The court recognized that Florida guarantees children permanency in an adoptive home. Uprooting children from foster care parents seeking full adoption can only be done for the best interests of the children. In this instance, denying qualified, loving foster care parents seeking full adoption-for no reason other than their sexual orientation-was not narrowly tailored to serving the best interests of the children. (As opposed to, say, discovering that the foster care parents are actually convicted felons.)

Florida’s ban also lost on equal protection grounds. According to government attorneys, Florida prohibited homosexual adoption to promote the well being of children, lessen the stigmatization of children raised by gay parents, and to uphold society’s “moral interests.” The court made significant findings of fact that none of the government’s stated interests were furthered by banning homosexuals from being adoptive parents. The court furthermore held that legislating moral interests-absent some other legislative purpose-was outside the province of government regulation. (I suspect only the hardcore legal philosophers among you will find this at all controversial.)

The decision is significant for a variety of reasons. First, this comes on the heels of Florida’s recent gay marriage ban. Second, child rearing and the importance of having a “traditional family” is often one of the arguments advanced by those who seek to limit gay marriage. A holding that government discrimination against homosexual parents cannot even pass a rational basis analysis severely undercuts arguments advanced by anti-gay marriage advocates regarding the importance of maintaining the “sanctity of marriage.” On the whole, even though Florida was the sole remaining state prohibiting adoption based solely on sexual orientation, the decision is definitely a positive development in advancing the rights of gays and lesbians in America.

Ken LaMance


  • Jake Miller, Esq

    As we enter 2009, here’s to hoping that this movement continues as this and similar cases work their way through the legal system of Florida. I have dedicated a significant portion of my law practice to helping this cause, as well as that of Civil Unions, Estate Planning, and other matters specific to the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transgender community.

  • Mike Angels

    For how long have there been humans, in their present incarnation, on this planet. Surely it is 10s of thousands of years, if not millions. In all that span of time, has there been a single case where two men fathered a child?

    The homosexual community does not want equality. They want control. And that community is as intolerant and bigoted as the people they most decry. It is time to put the lid on this pandora’s box we have opened. Homosexuals have all the rights that married couples have, as between themselves; but they are not heterosexual couples, and that fundamental difference is relevant, especially when it comes to the raising of children.

  • Sarah

    In all the history of mankind there has never been a verified case of a single woman or man spontaneously getting pregnant and carrying a child. Saying that homosexuals have no right to raise children because they cannot get pregnant on their own, is like saying single parents have no right to raise a child. And yet millions of children every day are raised by single, heterosexual parents. If you want homosexuals banned from raising children, then EVERY single parent should likewise be banned, for the same reason. Lets swell the foster agencies past all ability to handle!

  • lawsuit loans

    The overturn of the ban on Gay Adoption is indeed an improvement. Homosexuals have their own rights to raising a baby, and enjoy the whole family happiness.

  • ManPuppyMen

    We like to take every opportunity to point out that Big Brothers/Big Sisters has never discriminated in Florida or anywhere else. For gay men and lesbians who are unsure of the commitment or possible legal struggle in adopting a child, there is always an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child by volunteering with this organization.

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