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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Appeals Court Strikes Down Florida Gay Adoption Ban

"This is an appeal of a final judgment of adoption, under which F.G. became the adoptive father of two boys, X.X.G. and N.R.G. (collectively, “the children”). The trial court found, and all parties agree, that F.G. is a fit parent and that the adoption is in the best interest of the children. The question in the case is whether the adoption should have been denied because F.G. is a homosexual. Under Florida law, a homosexual person is allowed to be a foster parent. F.G. has successfully served as a foster parent for the children since 2004. However, Florida law states, “No person eligible to adopt under this statute [the Florida Adoption Act] may adopt if that person is a homosexual.” § 63.042(3), Fla. Stat. (2006). According to the judgment, “Florida is the only remaining state to expressly ban all gay adoptions without exception.” Judge Cindy Lederman, after lengthy hearings, concluded that there is no rational basis for the statute. We agree and affirm the final judgment of adoption...

Under Florida law, homosexual persons are allowed to serve as foster parents or guardians but are barred from being considered for adoptive parents. All other persons are eligible to be considered case-by-case to be adoptive parents, but not homosexual persons - even where, as here, the adoptive parent is a fit parent and the adoption is in the best interest of the children. The Department has argued that evidence produced by its experts and F.G.’s experts supports a distinction wherein homosexual persons may serve as foster parents or guardians, but not adoptive parents. Respectfully, the portions of the record cited by the Department do not support the Department’s position. We conclude that there is no rational basis for the statute...

We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution." Judge Gerald B. Cope Jr., Florida Third District Court of Appeal, Miami, Sept. 22, 2010.

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