Florida and Gay Adoption Laws

Kudos to Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, which last week overturned the state’s thirty-year-old blanket ban on gay adoption.  According to NYT, Florida was the last state in the country to have such a law, and Newly Progressive Gov. Charlie Crist came out in support of the decision, saying it was “a great day for children.”

Gill with one of his sons

It was an especially great day for plaintiff Martin Gill and the two boys (biological brothers) who he had been trying for years to adopt.  Ironically, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) strongly urged Gill to take in the two boys as a foster parent– and yet it’s the DCF who’s now on the other side of the case, opposing gay adoption, and who might appeal it.

Gill, his partner, and the two boys make a great poster family for gay adoption.  The kids, only 4 years old and 4 months when they were taken in, were both in bad shape: both had physical problems, and the older boy wouldn’t speak to his new foster parents for a month after being taken in.  Now, says Gill, “I would say today they are two happy, healthy, normal kids.”  This turnaround is clearly due to Gill and his partner’s heroic efforts on behalf of the kind of children (older than infants, troubled, non-white) that many adoptive parents try to steer clear of.

Seems like a heartwarming family values story to me.  Of course, the so-called family values organizations don’t agree, protesting that gay adoption deprives children of either a mother or a father.  Never mind that abusive and/or negligent heterosexual parents are the ones who leave children to the mercies of the foster care system.  I would think that the fundies would see that allowing gay adoption furthers their quest to reduce the abortion rate: if children put up for adoption can all find welcoming homes, maybe more women will choose to carry pregnancies to term.  But wait, I’m trying to apply logic to the thinking of right-wing fundamentalists, and we know that never works.

Back to the upside.  I’m in the middle of reading The Kid, Dan Savage’s chronicle of adopting a son with his boyfriend.  The book came out in 1999, and I’m struck by what a different climate it was just 11 years ago in terms of gay rights.  Savage mentioned the Florida ban, and noted that the Christian right was pushing for similar bans in at least five other states.  And yet, in 2010, Florida became the last state to get rid of such a ban.  It’s pretty amazing to see change and progress occurring so relatively quickly.  Congratulations to Mr. Gill and to all the other prospective adoptive parents whose efforts to provide homes for kids who need them is now legal in their state.

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