Tuesday, November 25, 2008

North Miami gay man can adopt 2 kids

This follows up a post I did a few weeks ago about this case. Miami Herald story here.

A Miami child welfare judge Tuesday declared Florida's 31-year-old ban on adoption by gay people unconstitutional, rejecting the state's claim that the law promotes public morality and the best interests of foster children who may be harmed by same-sex parents.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman approved the adoption of two half-brothers, identified only as John and James Doe, by Frank Gill, a gay North Miami man who has raised the two foster children since they were brought to him in December 2004 by a state child abuse investigator. The boys now are 8 and 4 years old.

''John and James left a world of chronic neglect, emotional impoverishment and deprivation to enter a new world, foreign to them, that was nurturing, safe, structured and stimulating,'' Lederman wrote. ``They are a family, a good family, in every way except the eyes of the law.'' . . .

Florida is the only state that excludes all gay men and lesbians from adopting -- though it allows gay and lesbian foster parents. Last month, voters in Arkansas passed a measure forbidding adoption by single people after a court there dismissed a state rule excluding gay people from fostering children.

The fate of the controversial law is likely to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court, to which Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to appoint at least two new judges in coming months. Crist, a former attorney general who has expressed support for the adoption ban, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he hadn't yet reviewed the ruling. . . .

Lederman, who oversees Miami's juvenile and child welfare courts, is the second judge this year to declare the state's ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians unconstitutional.

In August, Monroe County Circuit Judge David John Audlin Jr. permitted another gay man to adopt, declaring that the 1977 gay adoption ban arose out of ''unveiled expressions of bigotry'' when the state was experiencing a severe backlash to demands for civil rights by gay people in Miami.

Forbidding gay families to adopt ''while assuring child abusers, terrorists, drug dealers, rapists and murderers at least'' a chance to prove their cases in court, Audlin wrote, was so disproportionately severe'' that it violates the state and U.S. constitutions. . . .

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