A Miami-Dade circuit judge Tuesday declared Florida's 30-year-old ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, allowing a North Miami man to adopt two foster kids he has raised since 2004.
-- From "Florida ban on gay adoptions ruled unconstitutional" by Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald 11/25/08
In a 53-page order that sets the stage for what could become a constitutional showdown, Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman permitted 47-year-old Frank Gill to adopt the 4- and 8-year-old boys he and his partner have raised since just before Christmas four years ago. A child abuse investigator had asked Gill to care for the boys temporarily; they were never able to return to their birth parents.
Moments after Lederman released the ruling, attorneys for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced they would appeal the decision to the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami.
The attorney general's office had argued that gay men and lesbians are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental illness or a substance abuse problem than straight people, rendering them less fit to parent -- especially children in foster care who already are under tremendous stress.
In a ruling that, at times, reads more like a social science research paper, Lederman dissected 30 years worth of psychological and sociological research, concluding that studies overwhelmingly have shown that gay people can parent every bit as effectively as straight people and do no harm to their children.
Lederman, who overseas Miami's juvenile and child welfare courts, is the second judge this year to declare the state's blanket ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians unconstitutional.
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