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Florida Law Barring Gays From Adopting Is Upheld

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Matt_G
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Florida's gay adoptions statute has narrowly withstood another legal challenge, but with some dissenting federal judges seizing the chance to condemn the nation's only blanket ban on adoptions by gay people. In a 6-6 vote, the 11th U.S. circuit court of appeals in Atlanta declined Wednesday to reconsider the case of four gay men who were previously ruled against by a three-judge panel of the court. But one dissenting judge said the law is "irrational" under the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it singles out gays and no other groups. Another said he would move to change the law if he were a Florida legislator. Former Alabama attorney general William Pryor, named by President Bush to the 11th circuit court during a highly contested recess appointment earlier this year, cast his vote against a review. Pryor has come under fire from gay rights groups for a brief he filed in the Texas sodomy case last year in which he compared homosexuality to "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the request for the full appeals court to hear the case after the three-judge panel in January ruled against the men, foster parents seeking to adopt children in their care. "Coming this close to having the whole court consider the issue is little consolation to the thousands of children in Florida foster care who are in need of permanent homes," said Leslie Cooper, attorney for the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. The men wanted the court to overturn a 1977 law, passed at the height of Anita Bryant's antigay campaign, that leaves Florida as the only state with a complete ban on adoption by gays, either as couples or single parents. The three-judge panel had ruled that the issue was one that should be decided in the legislature, upholding a Miami federal judge's ruling dismissing the original class-action lawsuit, filed in Key West. The state earlier defeated challenges in state courts.

Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday the decision not to reconsider the case "validates Florida's conclusion that it's in the best interest of adopted children to be in homes anchored by both a father and a mother." But in a sharply worded dissenting opinion, Judge Rosemary Barkett, formerly of the Florida supreme court, noted that no other groups, including child molesters and domestic abusers, are barred from adopting in Florida. "In a very real sense, Florida's adoption statute treats homosexuals less favorably than even those individuals with characteristics that may pose a threat to the well-being of children," Barkett wrote. Barkett's opinion also noted that Florida allows single people to adopt and allows gays to be permanent foster parents. "In the context of adoption, this disparity of treatment on the face of the statute amounts to the purest form of irrationality," Barkett wrote.

Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., concurring with Barkett, included a personal note that he would vote in favor of allowing gays to adopt were he a Florida lawmaker. "I consider the policy decision of the Florida legislature to be misguided and trust that over time attitudes will change and it will see the best interests of these children in a different light," Birch wrote. Mathew Staver, president of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel, said the judges were wrong to make the comparison between single parents seeking adoption and adoptions by gays. "Putting someone in a same-sex household is fundamentally different than putting them in a household [that] is not homosexual because that person likely has the potential to marry and raise the child with a mom and a dad," Staver said. The ACLU said it is reviewing its legal options.

"Noah, someday we'll talk again. But there's things we'll never say. That sorrow deep inside you. It inside me, too. And it never go away. You be okay. You'll learn how to lose things..."
rockfenris2005
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MattG. Is that YOU in the photo?
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Matt_G
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That's all you have to say after reading about how an entire portion of the population is being discriminated against?
"Noah, someday we'll talk again. But there's things we'll never say. That sorrow deep inside you. It inside me, too. And it never go away. You be okay. You'll learn how to lose things..."
broadwayguy2
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joined:5/18/03
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what more can you expect from a slab of land ruled by a bush?
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SammyGal
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So all Bush's have an IQ of 4. Good to know...
On a clear day I can see myself for miles ~Taboo
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Auggie27
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This remains a disturbing ruling, no doubt helped by the flames fanned by Rick Santorum and others. I have two (gay) friends with two adopted children now 12 and 11, who are thriving. The children were both crack babies, discarded, "unadoptable" in the eyes of NY family court. Unadoptable means by white straight people. The men took on this challenge, and literally -- no hyperbole -- saved these two lives.

Those hypocrites who consistently shout "kids need a mommy and daddy" fail to take into account how many mommies and daddies don't want the hundreds of thousands of unwanted babies dumped into the foster care system every year. The sanctimonius born agains who find it better -- better! -- to see these kids shoved in group homes and temporary foster families until they end up in shelters when they age out-- what "natural law" are you following? So much for Christian ideals. (Read ORPHANS OF THE LIVING by Jennifer Toth -- kids "reared" in the indifferent-at-best world of foster care stay there, overwhelmingly.) The fact that many gay men who want to parent have seized this opportunity is beyond ironic. It's a heartbreaking reminder that gay men and women are the best kind of role models -- as Ghandi said, "you must be the change." They are, and even a blow like this won't stop them. Shame on Florida once again. (But thank you Matt for bringing this to the board.)
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 7/24/04 at 12:48 PM
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wow Auggie that was great! go run for office right now!
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broadwaystar2b
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This makes me ashamed to be a Floridian. Please, if someone can, vote for me by voting against any and all Bushes.
insomniak
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That pissses me off. Your sexual orientation has nothing to do with your ability to raise children.
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SammyGal
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people are ignorant assholes.
like a mother and father are perfect?! They f*ck up their children and aren't always the best for having kids.
Sometimes I can't believe anyone could elect an ignorant Governor and President.
On a clear day I can see myself for miles ~Taboo
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broadwaystar2b
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I live here and I've been wondering about the stupidity of my fellow Floridian voting age elders since I was in middle school.
Plum
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It's not a matter of low IQs; they just have a twisted value system. I wonder what legal rationale those other 6 judges used? I find reading those rulings to be a good form of black humor. Like Bush v. Gore.
rockfenris2005
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Well, in reply to BroadwayGuy2 and his racist comments on Australia, I'm going to give him a piece of my mind: If it was up to me, I wouldn't have destroyed Dance of the Vampires like you clumsy Americans and I would've made darn effin' sure that Steinman was the Sondheim he deserves. You "people" destroyed his gothic masterpiece with your teenage-romance jokes and typical Producer musicals.... Don't insult me, with typical racist remarks, because you don't even know me and you don't even know why I am here. I guess I'm a hypocrite when I say you Americans can't even see past the end of your noses... well, some of you anyway. I happen to know a lot of fine Americans, but the wealth of ignorant ones are responsible for the destruction of Dance of the Vampires and every other masterpiece to have come out of the West End and Australia! And if you think I'm just another typical Australian, you better check my website and choke on your words. Did it ever figure to you there is more than America? More than Broadway and musical-comedies? More than kissing the asses of some of the most dreadful musicals of all time..? I rest my case. You have gotten me WAY too wound up. Apologies to matt_g. I was curious, because the person in his picture looks like a waxwork from Madam Tussaud's...

Updated On: 7/27/04 at 04:55 AM
rockfenris2005
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I'm Eurotrash and f###in' proud of it!