BREAKING NEWS: Florida Adoption Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

The Miami
is reporting that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy
Lederman has ruled in the case of Frank Martin Gill, a gay foster
parent challenging Florida’s decades-old ban on gays and lesbians
adopting children. Judge Lederman found that “[i]t is clear
that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to

We could have told her that!

This is a huge step forward in the long struggle to repeal the
adoption ban at the state level. Early reports indicate that the
Department of Children and Families will appeal the decision to the
State Supreme Court. If the SSC upholds Judge Lederman’s ruling,
children with LGBT parents in Florida will no longer have to worry
about whether their families are forever families or not.

Thanks to our friends at the ACLU LGBT Project for their
ongoing work in this case. 

Read the Miami Herald article here.

Read Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler’s statement to the press
here: FEC Statement
on ACLU/Gill FL Adoption Case

Full text of the statement can be found after the jump.

Tuesday, November, 25 2008

Cathy Renna, Renna Communications, 917-757-6123,
Simon Aronoff, Renna Communications, 202-510-6705,

Family Equality Council Applauds Florida Ruling on Gay Man

Ruling Coincides with Legal and Social Progress Toward Recognizing
Gay Parents

Statement from Jennifer Chrisler, Executive

Boston, MA – On Tuesday, November 25, 2008 Miami-Dade Circuit
Judge Cindy Lederman issued her ruling in the case of Frank Martin
Gill, a 54-year-old North Miami man who is challenging Florida’s
decades-old law banning all gay and lesbian people from adopting
children. Judge Lederman decided that Gill’s sexual orientation
should not preclude him from being able to adopt his two foster
children, whom he has parented for more than four years. The State
of Florida will now decide whether to appeal Judge Lederman’s
ruling to the State Supreme Court. Action on this case at the State
Supreme Court level could overturn Florida’s decade’s old ban on
gays and lesbians adopting children. Florida is currently the only
state that expressly bans all gays and lesbians from adopting. The
state does allow gays and lesbians to foster parent.

Statement of Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family
Equality Council:

“Judge Lederman’s ruling is a long-overdue recognition of the equal
ability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to
raise happy, healthy families. LGBT parents are raising millions of
children nationwide. Our families are members of communities in
every state. We contribute at work and at school. We want only to
be given the same opportunities and legal protections other
families have so that we may best take care of ourselves. Florida’s
ban on all gays and lesbians adopting has long stood in the face of
more than twenty-five years of social science research that shows
no difference in the abilities of LGBT and straight parents.
Countless child welfare organizations attest to the need to support
LGBT parents and their families. The best interests of children
should be decided by parents, families, professionals and judges,
not opportunistic politicians and interest groups who have long run
campaigns demonizing our families. We at the Family Equality
Council fully trust that the Florida State Supreme Court, should it
hear this case on appeal, will see that the state has no compelling
reason to overturn today’s ruling, which evaluated the relationship
between Frank Martin Gill and his two sons and, correctly, said,
‘Yes, this is a family.'”

More Information on LGBT Parents and Foster/Adoption

All information cited in “LGBT Parenting Policy in the United
States,” a Family Equality Council publication available at 

•    Gay and lesbian parents are raising 4% of all adopted
children in the United States, approximately 65,500 children. Three
percent are being raised by single lesbians and gay men and 1% by
same-sex couples.

•    Gay parents are raising adopted children all over the
United States, but are most highly concentrated in New England,
Mid-Atlantic, and West coast states and least concentrated in the
Midwest and the South. Massachusetts, California, New Mexico, and
Alaska have the highest percentages of lesbian and gay adoptive

•    Census 2000 estimates indicate that 6% of children in
non-kin care, with caretakers other than extended family members,
are being raised by gay, lesbian, and bisexual foster parents, a
total of 14,134 of the nearly 500,000 children living in foster
care on any given day. Gay and lesbian foster parents are more
likely to raise children with disabilities—32% of all foster
children with disabilities reside with gay and lesbian parents.

•    Florida is the only state that has a law specifically
disallowing gay individuals from adopting. In Nebraska, although no
statutory law exists, a 1995 directive of the then director of the
Department of Social Service prohibits adoption by gay individuals
as well as individuals who are cohabitating in an unmarried
relationship. In addition, North Dakota law permits child-placing
agencies to discriminate against prospective adoptive parents based
on religious or moral objection, while Utah law gives preference to
married couples over single adults in adoption placement decisions.
Both of these laws may have the effect of restricting adoption by
gay individuals.

•    Conversely, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada,
New Jersey, and New York have policies prohibiting sexual
orientation discrimination in the adoption process. In addition,
because of their statutes or appellate court decisions permitting
second-parent adoption, an individual’s sexual orientation is not
a basis for exclusion in Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana,
Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

•    Arkansas is the most recent state to pass restrictions on
gay and lesbian foster parenting and adoption. On November 4, 2008,
Arkansas voters passed Act 1, a citizen-initiated ballot measure
statutorily banning all unmarried, cohabitating couples from
fostering or adopting children. This act includes all same-sex
couples in Arkansas because regardless of their intentions they
cannot legally marry in the state.

About the Family Equality Council
Family Equality Council works to ensure equality for lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender families by building community, changing
hearts and minds, and advancing social justice for all families. We
recognize and believe that the laws, provisions and ordinances that
hurt LGBT-headed families also hurt so many others—single
parents, blended families, families of color, and more. To that
end, Family Equality Council is standing strong to defeat
anti-family legislation and promote pro-family legislation. For
more information, please visit

# # #