Groups File Briefs In ACLU Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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MIAMI – The most respected Florida and national children’s health, welfare and legal advocacy groups filed seven friend-of-the-court briefs before a Florida appeals court Monday urging the court to strike down a Florida law barring lesbians and gay men from adopting. The briefs were filed in support of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that resulted in a Florida juvenile court judge striking down the law and granting the adoptions of two brothers to a gay man who has been raising the boys with his partner for more than four years.
“The Florida law banning lesbians and gay men from adopting cripples efforts to find families for the approximately 3,500 foster children the State reported were in need of homes and leaves some children without the security of adoption and having a ‘forever family,’” said Leslie Cooper, a senior staff lawyer with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project. “It’s not surprising that so many prominent children’s advocates are stepping up to let the court know just how harmful this law is to children.”
On November 25, 2008, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman granted the adoptions of two brothers, ages four and eight, to Martin Gill of North Miami, after a four-day trial that highlighted scientific evidence that gay and straight people make equally good parents. Gill and his partner have been foster parents to the two boys for more than four years, and the boys are thriving under their care.
The decision overturned Florida’s 31-year-old law banning gays and lesbians from adopting that was enacted in response to an anti-gay campaign led by Anita Bryant. The state immediately appealed the decision, and the case is now pending before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. The ACLU’s brief on behalf of Gill and the brief of the children’s counsel were filed on June 15, 2009.
Because the court file is sealed, copies of briefs in the case cannot be provided without an order of the court. The friend-of-the-court briefs were filed by children’s advocates from across the nation, including:
A date has not yet been set for oral argument before the Third District Court of Appeal. For more information on the case, including a video of Martin Gill explaining how this law has harmed his family, visit /gill
Martin Gill is represented by Co-Director James Esseks and senior staff attorney Leslie Cooper of the ACLU LGBT Project and LGBT Project Director Robert Rosenwald and staff attorney Shelbi Day of the ACLU of Florida. The children are represented by Hilarie Bass, Elliot Scherker, Elaine Walter and Brigid Cech Samole of Greenberg Traurig, and Charles Auslander, an attorney and former District Administrator for Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF).