Martin Gill and his two adoptive sons
Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist has announced that the state will immediately stop enforcing its ban on gay adoption after a court ruling on the matter.
On Wednesday, three Florida 3rd District Court Appeal judges unanimously agreed with a 2008 family court ruling that the 33 year old law violated the Florida state constitution.
“I am very pleased with the ruling. And I think having just spoken to Secretary Sheldon, we are going to immediately stop enforcing the ban,” Governor Crist told reporters at a news conference.
The case was brought to the courts by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Martin Gill, who, with his partner, has been a foster parent to two brothers — now six and 10 — since 2004.
While Florida law allowed gay people to be foster parents, it did not allow them to adopt, a bizarre state of affairs noted by at least one judge, who wrote:
“It is difficult to see any rational basis in utilising homosexual persons as foster parents or guardians on a temporary or permanent basis, while imposing a blanket prohibition on those same persons.”
The court said that Martin is an “exceptional parent to [the boys] who have healed in his care and are now thriving”.
One judge that noted Martin and his partner’s efforts in addressing the children’s medical, emotional and educational needs “are nothing short of heroic”.
“This is a giant step toward being able to give our sons the stability and permanency that they are being denied,” commented Martin in a statement.
While Florida will allow same-sex adoptions to go ahead for now, the case is expected to ultimately be settled in the US Supreme Court.