The rights of gay parents to adopt in Florida just took a big step forward. On Wednesday, a Miami appeals court ruled unanimously 3-0 that the state’s 33-year-old ban on adoptions by gay men and women is unconstitutional. Though the case may yet advance to the Florida Supreme Court for a final resolution, the ruling has prompted Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to announce that he would stop enforcing the ban immediately.
The Miami Herald quotes from the appeals court’s 35-page opinion:
“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.
To the contrary, the parties agree that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.’”
The decision was hailed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida, which brought the case, representing Frank Martin Gill, who sought to remain the parent of the two sons he and his longtime partner had adopted in 2009 after having served as their foster parents for several years. “Finally, a piece of 30-year-old prejudice has been struck from the law books in Florida,” Florida ACLU head Howard Simon told the Herald. “This is good news for the advancement of human rights and the children in Florida’s troubled foster-care system.”
On Wednesday afternoon, at a news conference, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who once supported the state’s 33-year-old ban on gay adoption but, after leaving the Republican party, has reversed his position, called the ruling “great” and announced that he would immediately stop enforcing the ban. Crist said he would confer with Gill about whether he should still move forward with the Supreme Court appeal, adding that he thought it unlikely that the court would overturn the appeals court’s ruling.
“It’s a great day for children,” Crist said. “Children deserve a loving home.”