Relying on SCIENCE & REASON,
Judge Rules Against Florida's Ban on Adoptions by Gays

TOPICs: gay rights, adoption

A bit of good news on the civil liberties front: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman [pictured at right] has ruled as UNCONSTITUTIONAL a strict Florida law blocking gay people from adopting children (see the original USA Today article here):

Miami judge rules against Fla. gay adoption ban

MIAMI (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ruled that a strict Florida law that blocks gay people from adopting children is unconstitutional, declaring there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents, rejecting the state's arguments that there is "a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children."

She noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida. "There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting," she wrote in a 53-page ruling. …

Later in the article, ACLU attorneys are quoted as saying "the case was the first in the nation in which numerous experts in child psychology, social work and other fields testified that there is no science to justify a gay adoption ban." In fact, according to the USA Today article, "Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association all support permitting same-sex couples to adopt."

The great state of Florida begs to differ, however — and in the form of one Florida Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin, apparently plans "a swift appeal." Even attorney and same-sex marriage bigot crusader John Stemberger got into the act, being quoted as calling the ruling "classic judicial activism."

Go to the ACLU website and download the PDF doc version of the trial court final decision — makes for great reading: Judge Lederman offers a thorough review of the scientific evidence presented and a firm no-holds-barred dismissal of much of the state's so-called expert testimony. In fact, reading the decision in greater detail has made me feel less dread as the state of Florida "swiftly" files the appeal … the state's case really seems based largely on outdated bigotry and explicitly religion-affiliated dogma. Even if the appeal is eventually heard, the state will have to come up with much, much better support for its stand. And frankly, such support simply doesn't exist. Let's hope Lederman's great example of relying on science and reason inspires courts in any future litigation.


ACLU website: http://www.aclu.com/

American Medical Association (AMA) website: http://www.ama-assn.org/

American Psychiatric Association website: http://www.psych.org/

Family Equality Council website: http://www.familyequality.org/index_main.html

Florida Department of Children and Families website: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/ess/ . The adoption program website is: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/adoption/

Stemberger, John: professional website at http://www.orlandolawyer.tv/


A challenge to Florida's ban on adoption by gay parents. ACLU website for miscellaneous information related to the Gill case, including a link to a PodCast featuring Martin Gill. Accessed Wed 11/26/2008 at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/37875res20081124.html

Florida Trial Court Opens Way For Lesbians And Gay Men To Adopt (11/25/2008). ACLU Press Release, accessed Wed 11/26/2008 at web address http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/37907prs20081125.html

Hudson, Waymon (10/23/2008). The insanity of John Stemberger: going down the rabbit hole in Florida. Blog commentary accessed Wed 11/26/2008 at http://www.bilerico.com/2008/10/the_insanity_of_john_stemberger_going_do.php

Miami judge rules against Fla. gay adoption ban. (11/25/2008). USA Today. Retrieved Wed 11/26/2008 at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-11-25-gay-adoption_N.htm.

Trial Court Decision, available as PDF download at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/37906lgl20081125.html