Not 3 for 3; Florida adoption ban stays, homoaffectional parents lose their case :(
- None of these articles seem to have a vote breakdown; did just one judge decide this or what? If it was a vote breakdown, I'd like to know who the judges are, and which president appointed whom.The lawmakers who initially passed the ban back in the late 70's issued a statement of regret a couple years ago, actually coming forward to say they would do everything in their power to get rid of it. One, a "conservative" Democrat even appeared on In The Life, going on about how much of a mistake it was. Fat lot of good that does us now. They should have made the decision to nip the ban in the bud then, not now.And Jeb Bush had some really wonderful things to say in light of this ruling. Asshole...Ban on adoptions by gays upheld by U.S. appeals court
Even though Florida is the only state to prohibit gay adoptions, appellate judges say they have no right to overrule the state Legislature.
A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a Florida law that bars gay men and women from adopting children, maintaining Florida's distinction as the only state that bans any gay person from adopting.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with an earlier federal ruling that threw out a high-profile lawsuit filed by four gay men who said the ban violated their constitutional rights because, although they were allowed to be foster parents or guardians, they were not allowed to adopt.
''Florida has made the determination that it is not in the best interests of its displaced children to be adopted by'' gay people, Judge Stanley Birch wrote in the court's unanimous decision, ``and we found nothing in the Constitution that forbids this policy judgment.''
The state enacted the blanket ban on adoption for gay singles and couples in 1977. It came after the Anita Bryant-fueled ''Save the Children'' anti-homosexuality campaign and the early days of the gay rights movement.
''We exercise great caution when asked to take sides in an ongoing public policy debate,'' Birch wrote. ``Any argument that the Florida Legislature was misguided in its decision is one of legislative policy, not constitutional law.''
Wednesday's ruling is a setback for gay rights groups, which in November hailed the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down a Texas state law that banned private consensual gay sex.
The Florida case garnered headlines in 2002 when talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, a gay woman raising adopted children, went on national TV to denounce the law.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, which litigated the case for the men, said they were deeply disappointed.
''We think the court is wrong in thinking the Constitution lets the government assume that sexual orientation has anything to do with good parenting,'' ACLU attorney Matt Coles said in a statement. ``We are distressed that the court's decision will leave thousands of children without the homes and the parents they deserve.''
The attorneys said their clients will explore other legal challenges. They can ask the appeals court to reconsider the case or try taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court, an ACLU spokesman said.
Of the three judges who heard the case, Birch and Judge Ed Carnes were appointed to the bench by the first President Bush. The third, Procter Hug Jr., was appointed by Jimmy Carter.
The ruling will likely heat up an already contentious national debate, especially in Florida, a key battleground for the November presidential election.
Gay adoption also was an issue in the 2002 gubernatorial election. Republican Gov. Jeb Bush supported the law. Democratic opponent Bill McBride wanted to repeal it.
''I am pleased by the ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today,'' Bush said in a news release. ``The decision validates Florida's conclusion that it is in the best interest of adopted children, many of whom come from troubled and unstable backgrounds, to be placed in a home anchored both by a father and a mother.''
Florida does permit single straight people to adopt; gay couples can be foster parents.
The ACLU has argued the law prevents thousands of children who languish in state custody from being part of responsible families.
''There can be no justification for Florida's ban on gay adoptions other than impermissible prejudice and hostility toward gay people,'' said Howard Simon, the ACLU's Florida director.
The lawsuit was filed in 1999 by Steven Lofton of Portland, Ore.; Douglas Houghton of Miami, and Wayne Smith and Daniel Skahen of Key West. All of them are foster parents or guardians.
The suit was thrown out in 2001 by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King.
The four men could not be reached Wednesday night.
Lofton told The Herald in March 2003 that he took home an HIV-positive infant in 1991 because no one else wanted him as a foster child.
The former Miami Beach resident, who now lives in Oregon with his partner and the boy, called the Florida law ``discriminatory and hateful.''
The Key West couple have two foster children, and Houghton, a trauma nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital, cares for a boy.
They have wanted to make their ties with the children more permanent because adopted children enjoy greater legal rights, including being the next-of-kin and receiving insurance coverage.
Because of the law, some gay men in Florida have resorted to establishing homes in other states. Kevin Burns, who lives in North Miami, bought a home with his partner in Vermont so they could legally adopt a 2-year-old girl.
''I didn't want someone in the Florida Legislature to dictate whether I was a capable parent based upon their preconceived notion,'' Burns said.
Unless you've been living in some cave in Nepal (Afghanistan is kinda tired, k?) you know that Tuesday November 18th, the Massachusetts SJC ruled in favor of gay marriages, but the fight is by no means over! To keep the KKKonservative right from overturning our victory, join Marriage Equality Massachusetts at
This historic development may not have been possible without Howard Dean signing same-sex civil UNIONS into law, paving the integral way to the historical legalization of same-sex MARRIAGES. Vote Dean for Pres! Register early and make sure to vote for Dean in the Democratic primary in your state! For more info, go to http://www.outfordean.com
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