Florida's 33-year-old ban on gay men
and lesbians adopting children is dead following Friday's
announcement by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum that he would
not appeal a court ruling that upheld a 2008 decision that struck
down the law.
Last month, a 3-judge appeals court
unanimously upheld the ruling that found the law to be
unconstitutional and to have “no rational basis.”
The Florida Department of Children and
Families (DCF) had already said it would not challenge the ruling.
“Following the decision by our
client, the Department of Children and Families, not to appeal the
decision of the Third District Court of Appeals, it is clear that
this is not the right case to take to the Supreme Court for its
determination. No doubt someday a more suitable case will give the
Supreme Court the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this
law,” McCollum said in a statement.
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.
“This law, by baselessly branding gay
people unfit parents, was one of the most notorious anti-gay laws in
the country, and we are delighted that it has been ended once and for
all,” Leslie Cooper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT
Project, who argued the case before Florida’s Third District Court
of Appeal, said in a statement. “This victory means that the
thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will
no longer be needlessly deprived of willing and able parents who can
give them the love and support of a family.”
Gill said he was “relieved” and
looked forward to focusing on being a family.
“Our boys have overcome difficult
beginnings to become happy, healthy kids,” he said. “All
children deserve a chance at finding a stable, loving and permanent
Florida was 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