The Florida Department of Children and
Families (DCF) announced Tuesday evening that it would not appeal a
court ruling that found the state's gay adoption ban
unconstitutional, CNN reported.
Last month, a 3-judge appeals court
unanimously upheld a lower court's ruling that found the law to be
unconstitutional and to have “no rational basis.”
“We had weighed an appeal to the
Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality
for all parties,” DCF spokesman Joe Follick told CNN. “But the
depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion – and that of
Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman's original circuit court decision –
has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited
chance of a different outcome.”
Attorney General Bill McCollum has yet
to announce whether his department will appeal the ruling.
The decision means that Frank Martin
Gill, the plaintiff being represented by the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU), can legally adopt the two half brothers he and his
partner have raised since 2004.
“We are happy to hear that DCF wants
to bring this case to an end and allow the Gill family to get on with
their lives,” Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of
Florida, said in a statement.
“What is needed now is a similar
statement from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum that will
formally end this case and allow judges to decide – on a
case-by-case basis – what is in the best interests of children.”
“Ending this case here will mean that
gay people throughout the State of Florida can apply to adopt and
will be treated like everyone else,” Simon added. “This means
that more children will have the opportunity to have a permanent home
with a loving family.”
Florida enacted the ban 17 years ago.
It is the only state with an outright ban. Other states have enacted
laws that limit gay couples' access to adoption. Such as Arkansas,
which denies unmarried couples – in a state that bans gay marriage
– the right to jointly adopt children.