Politics & Government

Florida's gay adoption ban now in hands of appeals court

A Miami appeals court heard arguments Wednesday morning in a case that could overturn Florida's 32-year-old law banning adoption by gay men and lesbians.

The three-judge panel will decide the fate of two half-brothers who say they want to be adopted by the foster father who's raised them since 2004. The foster father, Martin Gill of North Miami, can't adopt under state law because he's gay.

Florida is the only state that excludes all gay men and lesbians from adopting, though it allows gay and lesbian foster parents. Last year, 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.

In November, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman Lederman declared Florida's ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians unconstitutional. Lederman's ruling allowed Gill, who has been in a long-term relationship with a partner, to adopt the two brothers.

Her ruling marked the second time that year that a South Florida judge declared the law 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. Audlin's ruling was not appealed.

Legal experts say the dispute will ultimately be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

Read more at MiamiHerald.com

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