Judicial activism spotlighted in adoption case; state will appeal
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman has ruled that a strict Florida law that blocks same-sex couples from adopting children is unconstitutional. The judge said there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting.
Judge Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for children and their prospective homosexual parents, rejecting the state’s arguments.
She noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida. “There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting,” she wrote in a 53-page ruling.
Florida is the only state with an outright ban on gay adoption. Arkansas voters last month approved a measure similar to a law in Utah that bans any unmarried straight or gay couples from adopting or fostering children. Mississippi bans gay couples, but not single gays, from adopting.
Florida Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin said an appeal would be filed on behalf of the state Department of Children & Families, likely setting up a battle that could reach the Florida Supreme Court.
John Stemberger, chairman of a successful drive earlier this month to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Florida, called the ruling “classic judicial activism” and predicted it would be reversed on appeal.
“Everywhere in the law where children are affected, the standard must always be what is in the best interest of the child,” said Stemberger, an attorney in Orlando. “What is stunning to me is that when it comes to dealing with gays, that standard goes out the window. Children do better with a mother and a father.”
The AP report is here.