Gay Ban Overturned

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A Florida circuit court judge has ruled that the state’s 31-year ban on adoption by gays is unconstitutional.

Monroe Circuit Court Judge David J. Audlin ruled that the law unjustly “singles out a group for punishment” and violates the state constitution’s separation of powers by preventing family court and child welfare judges from deciding what’s best for a child, based on his or her specific situation.

The decision allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a 13-year-old boy with learning disabilities and special needs who has lived in his home since 2001. The unidentified 52-year-old man was named the boy’s guardian by the same judge in 2006.

Florida law does not preclude gays and lesbians from providing foster care to abused and neglected children. The plaintiff in the case has fostered 32 children.

The state Department of Children and Families was not a party to the case, because the child moved out of its jurisdiction when the man was named permanent guardian.

Mississippi, the only other state that forbids gay people from adopting, also allows them to provide foster care for abused and neglected children.