Florida Will Not Appeal Ruling on Adoptions by Gays

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The fight over gay adoptions in Florida is officially over.

The state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced Tuesday that – as expected – it will not appeal last month’s decision by the Third District Court of Appeals that the ban was unconstitutional.

Florida had been the only state that expressly prohibited any gay people from being adoptive parents, but Michigan, Mississippi and Nebraska have laws restricting adoptions by homosexuals.

After fighting to keep the ban for years, the department decided that it could not win. “The depth, clarity and unanimity” of the appeals court decision “has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome,” said DCF spokesman Joe Follick.

The agency said it will remove a question about sexual orientation from its applications for adoptive parents.

The battle began with a civil suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a gay Florida resident, Martin Gill, and his male partner. Gill wanted to adopt two boys whom he had cared for as a foster parent since 2004. Florida has no law prohibiting gays from serving as foster parents.

In 2008, a Florida court ruled in that case that there was “no rational basis” for a statute that “singles out a group for punishment.” Florida appealed, but after the appeals court upheld the lower court decision last month, Gov. Charlie Crist (I) announced the state would no longer enforce the prohibition.

As for the other states with restrictions, according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress:

* Michigan prevents same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions from adopting children in Michigan. Single gay and lesbian individuals may petition to adopt.

* Nebraska prohibits adoption by gay individuals and unmarried, cohabiting individuals.

*  Mississippi bans adoption by same-sex couples.


Previous coverage on this subject: Florida Gay Adoption Ban Overturned