A Monroe Circuit Court judge has ruled Florida's year-old gay adoption ban unconstitutional in an order that allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since Declaring the adoption to be in the boy's "best interest", circuit judge David J Audlin Jr, said the Florida law forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children is contrary to the state constitution because it singles out a group for punishment. Florida is one of only two states - including Mississippi - that forbid gay people from adopting children. Though the statute has been found unconstitutional by circuit judges in Florida twice before, both in , another adoption case expected to be heard next month in a Miami courtroom may also provide a new challenge to the law. The boy, identified as John Doe, has remained with the foster father ever since.
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In re: Gill is a landmark Florida court case that in ended Florida's year ban on adoptions by homosexuals. In , Frank Martin Gill, an openly gay man, had petitioned the circuit court to adopt two boys that he and his partner had been raising as foster children since Gill was prohibited from adopting by a Florida law prohibiting adoption by gay men and lesbians in that state. Lederman declared the ban violated the equal protection rights of the children and their prospective parents under the Florida Constitution , and granted Gill's adoption request. The state of Florida appealed the trial court decision. The Florida Legislature undertook comprehensive adoption reform in , repealing the ban on homosexual adoption, which the state had not enforced since In , at the peak of the anti-gay Save Our Children campaign led by Anita Bryant to repeal a Miami-Dade human rights law, the Florida Legislature enacted a law prohibiting adoptions by homosexuals.
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Audlin, Jr. The child is identified in the court documents as John Doe. To grant the adoption, the judge had to find unconstitutional Florida's ban on adoption by lesbians and gay men. In so finding, the judge reviewed what was said about the ban when it was enacted in and concluded that the origin of the ban was a politically charged climate, dominated by Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusade that resulted in the repeal of the Miami anti-discrimination ordinance.
Legal scholars have figured all along that the issue would need to be resolved at the state Supreme Court. She ruled in the case for Martin Gill, the North Miami flight attendant who wants to adopt his two foster sons, and concluded there was consensus among researchers that there is no reason to prohibit adoptions by gays and lesbians. Judge Gerald B. Cope Jr.