Declaring unconstitutional a 30-year old state law prohibiting gay men and women from adopting children in Florida, a Circuit Court there recently concluded that Florida should no longer be the only state with a blanket ban of this kind. In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe and James Doe came before the Court on a petition for adoption of two foster children by a gay man who had raised the children since 2004.
The second Florida Court this year to declare the law unconstitutional, the Court declared that the law violated both the petitioner’s and the children’s equal protection rights guaranteed by the Florida Constitution without setting forth a rational basis. The Court also declared that the law unlawfully prevented a child’s right to permanency as provided by federal and state law pursuant to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. In so doing, the Court rejected the State’s arguments that the law served the best interests of children because homosexuals allegedly experienced higher levels of stressors detrimental to children; that such adoptions did not minimize children’s social stigmatization; and that the law protected a child’s societal moral interests.
Notably, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum stated shortly after the decision’s release that it would be appealed, on behalf of the Department of Children & Families, to the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami.