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FL appeals court hears arguments in ban on gay adoptions

Thursday, August 27, 2009
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Martin GillThe Florida state court of appeals began hearing arguments Wednesday on last year’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay adoption.

The state is appealing a Miami-Dade County judge’s November 2008 ruling that the state law that bans gay adoptions is unconstitutional. The ruling came in the case of Martin Gill, who along with his partner fought to adopt their two foster children. They won the case and the judge’s ruling overturned the 31-year-old law that banned gay adoptions.

State attorneys say the judge legislated from the bench and that state lawmakers should decide the issue. The Third District Court of Appeal is hearing oral arguments from the Florida Department of Children & Families.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Gill, calls Florida’s gay adoption ban the broadest such law in the nation, arguing Wednesday in Miami there’s no rational basis to exclude gay people.

Florida is the only state that excludes all gay men and lesbians from adopting, though it allows gay and lesbian foster parents. Last year, voters in Arkansas passed a measure forbidding adoption by single people after a court there dismissed a state rule excluding gay people from fostering children.

It could be several months before the appeals court issues a ruling, which could then be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Pictured: Martin Gill and the two brothers he and his parter hope to adopt.

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