Tom Appeals Blog

News and Observations About Law and Society

"As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule." - Albert Einstein

Florida Ban on Adoptions by Lesbians and Gays Declared Unconstitutional

Posted: September 22, 2010 Filed under: Case Law, Law-Related News

In an opinion that took more than one year to write following argument of the case, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal has concluded that the state’s categorical ban against adoptions by lesbian and gay individuals is unconstitutional.

The court began with three observations: “First, there does not appear to be any disagreement between the parties regarding the facts of the case. The parties entered into a lengthy list of stipulated facts. The stipulated facts are attached as an appendix to this opinion. Second, the parties agree that the father is a fit parent and that the adoption is in the best interest of the children. Appendix ¶¶ 44-56. Third, the Department of Children and Families [“Department”] “agrees that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.” Appendix ¶ 31.”

The adoptive father had fostered the children since 2004. “The children arrived with medical problems and other needs. X.X.G. arrived wearing a dirty adult-sized t-shirt and sneakers four sizes too small. Both children were suffering from ringworm and the four-month-old suffered from an untreated ear infection. X.X.G., the four-year-old, did not speak and his main concern was changing, feeding and caring for his baby brother.”

The court concluded, “We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution.” It declined to decide whether the Florida ban violated the children’s constitutional right to equal protection of the law or the children’s statutory right, under federal law, to a permanent home.

The Department of Children and Families has the right to seek further review in the Florida Supreme Court.

The case is Florida Department of Children and Families v. In re: Matter of Adoption of X.X.G. and N.R.G., and the court’s opinion contains a detailed and fascinating review of scientific data.

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)