Blog of Rights

State Appeals Court Finds Florida's Law Banning Adoptions by Gays and Lesbians Unconstitutional

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 2:37pm

Today, Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeals struck down that state's law barring gay people from adopting. In this unanimous decision (PDF), the judges agreed with a November 2008 family court ruling that the law violated the Florida state constitution. That 2008 ruling came after a four-day trial that highlighted scientific evidence that gay and straight people make equally good parents.

Our client is Martin Gill, who, with his partner, has been a foster parent to two brothers — now 6 and 10 — since 2004. (Florida law allows gay people to be foster parents, but not adopt.) The court's opinion recognized that Martin is an "exceptional parent to [the boys] who have healed in his care and are now thriving."

One judge noted Martin and his partner's efforts in addressing the children's medical, emotional and educational needs "are nothing short of heroic." Indeed, the court pointed out, the defendant in the case, Florida's Department of Children and Families, agreed that being adopted by Martin was in the children's best interest.

Martin said in a statement today: "This is a giant step toward being able to give our sons the stability and permanency that they are being denied."

The ACLU and the Greenberg Traurig attorneys representing the children achieved this week what we've been seeking all along: a loving and permanent home for these two brothers.

A number of respected authorities on children's health and welfare — including the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America and the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy — filed friend-of-the-court briefs urging the court to strike down the ban.

You can learn more about Martin Gill's case and watch a video of him with his kids on our website.

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