Gay rights advocates have won another
court battle, this time in Florida, where an appeals court has ruled
that the state's gay adoption ban is unconstitutional, the AP
The 3-judge panel unanimously ruled
against the law on Wednesday.
“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. No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any
such argument,” the judges wrote in their opinion.
“To the contrary, the parties agree
'that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.'”
The state appealed a 2008 ruling by
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman that allowed Frank Gill and
his partner to legally adopt the two half brothers they have raised
Florida's Department of Children &
Families argued that gay men and lesbians are unfit as parents
because they are more likely to suffer from mental illness, substance
abuse or engage in harmful lifestyle choices. But Lederman
disagreed, finding in her 53-page ruling the law to be
unconstitutional and to have “no rational basis.”
While other states limit gay couples'
access to adoption, Florida has enacted the only outright ban. For
example, Arkansas voters in 2008 approved Act 1, which limits joint
adoptions to married couples in a state that banned gay marriage four
The debate over the law, however, will
likely continue to the Florida Supreme Court. Florida's Attorney
General, Bill McCollum, who recently lost the GOP gubernatorial
primary, said last month that he would ban gay men and lesbians from
serving as foster parents.
“I really do not think that we should
have homosexuals guiding our children,” he said in an interview
with the Florida Baptist Witness. “I think that it's a
lifestyle that I don't agree with.”
This is the fourth major court win for
gay activists this year. Federal judges have found California's
gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, a
federal gay marriage ban, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and
ban on gay troops serving openly in the military, “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” to be unconstitutional.