A Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge ruled recently that Florida's 30-year-old ban on same-sex adoptions is unconstitutional. In doing so, the Florida juvenile division jurist permitted a North Miami man to adopt two foster children, whom he and his male partner have been raising since 2004.
Judge Cindy Lederman's 53 page decision, which permitted 47 year old Frank Gill to adopt the 4 and 8 year old half brothers, is sure to set the stage for a constitutional show down. The decision by Judge Lederman was based on a legal analysis that incorporated existing statutes and case law and was strongly based on the issues of permanency, the best interests of these children, and upon the fact that these children have been thriving under the care of Mr. Gill and his partner.
The decision by Judge Lederman should not surprise family law attorneys in West Palm Beach and elsewhere in Florida. This is the second decision by a Florida trial judge this year to declare the state's blanket ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians to be unconstitutional.
In August, 2008 Munroe County Circuit Judge Audlin also issued an opinion, stating that the ban was unconstitutional. Florida Attorney General's office has stated that it will appeal the decisions. Florida family lawyers will be watching this appellate battle closely. The outcome may have legal and psychological ramifications far beyond juvenile court.
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