TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill, HB 7013, which included a provision removing from state law the ban on adoptions by lesbians and gay men that has not been enforced since 2010, when a Florida appeals court declared it unconstitutional in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
In September 2010, in a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Martin Gill, a foster parent from Miami seeking to adopt two children the state placed in his care, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal held that the 1977 Florida law banning adoption by gay people was unconstitutional because it had no relationship to the best interests of children. Former Attorney General Bill McCollum declined to appeal the ruling, ending decades of anti-gay discrimination that denied children the opportunity for permanent adoptive homes.
An amendment to HB 7013, a larger bill regarding incentives to adopt children in state care, would remove the unconstitutional language from state law. Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 7013 on a 68-50 vote.
Responding to the vote, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:
“For more than a decade, through multiple lawsuits, the ACLU fought to end Florida’s discriminatory ban on adoptions by lesbians and gay men. The court decision finally striking down the ban in our case on behalf of Martin Gill, a foster parent who sought to provide the permanence and security of a forever home to two young children the state placed in his care, was a historic win for both equality and for children – but it was not the end of the fight.
“Although the law is no longer enforceable, the fact that it remained on the books sent a harmful and stigmatizing message to lesbian and gay parents and their children. Today’s historic vote removes the stain that has marked our state for nearly forty years.”
“For Martin Gill and his family and all the many kids who have been able to find the security and love of an adoptive home since the law was struck down, we are thankful to those members of the Florida Legislature who voted today to remove this ugly and hurtful dead-letter law from the books.”
More information about the case which struck down the adoption ban is available here: www.aclu.org/gill