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Florida judge approves lesbian couple adoption despite state’s ban

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Florida’s outdated gay adoption ban took another hit after a Miami judge approved the adoption by a lesbian couple.

Alenier, right, and Leon, with their adopted son.
(Miami Herald photo)

Vanessa Alenier and Melanie Leon of Hollywood, FL, became the third gay couple in the last year to be approved to adopt, directly contradicting the state’s 1977 law against it, according to the Miami Herald.

Alenier, 34, said she did not want to begin her journey as a parent with a lie. So she told the truth, acknowledging she was gay on the adoption application — despite Florida’s 33-year-old law banning gay men and lesbians from adopting.

Earlier this month — as a Miami appeals court determines the constitutionality of the embattled adoption ban — a judge quietly approved the 1-year-old’s adoption. The decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia is the third finalized adoption by a gay couple within the last year.

While the 1977 law remains in limbo, Sampedro-Iglesia’s ruling suggests some state court judges already have made up their minds about gay adoption, a thorny political issue in a state with a significant social conservative streak.

The Florida Department of Children & Families says it is currently deciding whether to appeal the judge’s decision.

Previously, a judge in Key West, Monroe Circuit Judge David J. Audlin, struck the first blow to the statute on Aug. 29, 2008, when he signed a 67-page order declaring the law unconstitutional. Audlin’s order cleared the way for a Key West lawyer, Wayne LaRue Smith, to adopt a boy he had been raising in foster care.

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