This past week marked a critical moment in the gay rights movement and in Florida history. On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal determined that Florida’s ban on gay adoptions has “no rational basis” and is unconstitutional.
This prohibition was first enacted in Florida in 1977, although gay parents were still allowed to become foster parents. Florida has been the only state that continues to enact such a “blanket ban.” After the hearing, Appellate Judge Gerald Cope wrote, “It is difficult to see any rational basis in utilizing homosexual persons as foster parents or guardians on a temporary or permanent basis, while imposing a blanket prohibition on those same persons. All other persons are eligible to be considered case-by-case to be adoptive parents.”
The decision came about after Martin Gill and his partner fi led a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union in order to adopt their two foster children. Now Gill and the ACLU want the state to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court to receive a final statewide decision.
Governor Charlie Crist is “very pleased with the ruling” and believes that Gill will have a “very good chance to get a very good ruling” if he takes the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
This decision has been very beneficial to the gay community and the thousands of children in need of adoptive homes. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, only 50,000 of 120,000 children available for adoption have found homes.
For Florida to limit the kind of couples eligible to adopt was an ignorant, discriminatory and outdated way of thinking. By banning gay adoption, children in gay households have no legal status should something, like a death or serious illness, happen to the parents.
Unfortunately, some people are not celebrating this revolutionary decision. They continue to claim that gay people are not fi t to be parents, holding onto the belief that raising children in a gay household will turn the children into homosexuals.
However, the American Psychological Association Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children notes, “There is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning. Second, beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fi t parents have no empirical foundation.”
Furthermore, the 2000 U.S. Census reported that 33 percent of female same-sex households and 22 percent male same-sex households already have at least one child under 18 living at home.
Many children have had great experiences with their gay adoptive parents and are now living in stable, loving homes, which is what America wants for all its children.
Other benefits are associated with lifting the gay adoption ban. The College of Health and Public Affairs of the University of Central Florida estimates that, after five years, Florida could save 3 million dollars because of the decrease of children in foster care.
The overturn of the ban will start immediately, and hopefully we will see more children being adopted in the next few years.