A Florida state law that banned gay men and lesbians from adoption has been struck down by the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision that upheld a trial court ruling that the ban was unconstitutional because it violates equal protection under the law.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist said the state would cease enforcement of the ban immediately.
The case that brought the new ruling involved a gay foster parent, Martin Gill, who wished to adopt two boys who were placed in his care by the Department of Children and Families after they were removed from their home because of neglect. At the time, Florida law allowed gay men and lesbians to serve as foster parents and guardians.
A private nonprofit adoption services agency under contract with the state reported to the DCF that Gill’s home was a suitable environment for the boys and that he met all the requirements for adoption, but recommended against it because of the existing Florida law banning gay adoption.
Gill sued and was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. The trial court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, and the DCF appealed the ruling to the district court.
In the appeals court ruling, Judge Cindy S. Lederman 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 adoption by those same persons.”