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Prohibition On Gay Adoption Is Declared Unconstitutional In Florida

On September 22, 2010 the Third District Court of Appeals found that the law prohibiting homosexual adoption was unconstitutional. While this ruling only controls in a portion of the state of Florida (including Miami), its effects have been extended across the state by Governor Christ.

Florida was the only state in the entire country that maintained this type of ban on gay marriage. Other states, like Arkansas and Utah, have also banned gay adoption, but those laws are limited to gay couples. In Florida the law was the most expansive, stating “No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.” Thus, Florida’s law was not limited to couples, but also included gay people that were single and seeking to adopt individually.

The Florida ban on gay adoption was instituted in 1977, and it was not until 2008 that a trial judge in Miami found the law to be unconstitutional, and not until 2010 that the ruling was endorsed by an appellate court. When the trial court’s decision was appealed, many groups showed support to uphold the decision to ban gay adoption. Notably, Governor Christ retreated from his previous position on gay adoption and strongly endorsed a ban on the law. Likewise, the Department of Children and Families now agrees that gay and straight people make equally good parents.

Despite the ruling of the Appellate Court, it remains likely that the Supreme Court of Florida will be asked to hear the case. Finality will not be given to the issue until the Supreme Court of Florida has expressly ruled on a gay adoption case.