News (USA)

Florida child welfare agency will not appeal ruling to allow gay adoptions

Florida will cease to enforce its ban gay adoptions, as the Department of Children and Families announced Tuesday that it would not appeal the September decision by the Third District Court of Appeals that the ban was unconstitutional.

The September 22 ruling upheld a 2008 ruling by a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge that found the state’s ban against gays adopting children to be unconstitutional, affirming the controversial adoption of two foster children by a gay Miami couple.

“We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” said Joe Follick, the department’s communications director.

“But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion — and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision — has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome.”

The state agency said they will remove the question about of sexual orientation from its adoption applications.

Martin Gill and his male partner, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the lawsuit in their attempt to adopt two brothers, whom they have cared for as foster children since December 2004.

Florida was the only remaining state to prohibit gay adoption. Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the department to stop enforcing the law after Lederman’s ruling.

Attorney General Bill McCollum has the option to appeal the ruling, but will have to do so without the support of the child welfare agency. A decision to appeal must be made by Oct. 21.

The 42-page Sept. 22 ruling from the Third District Court of Appeals is here (PDF).

Update, 10/22/10: Attorney General Bill McCollum said Friday he would not appeal a recent court ruling declaring unconstitutional Florida’s ban on adoption by homosexuals. The decision effectively ends the state’s 33-year law ban on the adoption of foster children by gay couples. [via MSNBC]

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