September 22, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
Fla. appeals court rules against adoption ban

A Florida appellate court on Wednesday found that a state law prohibiting adoption by gays is unconstitutional.

The Third District Court of Appeals in Miami, Fla., determined that the adoption ban — passed in 1977 — violates equal protection under the state constitution.

The three judges on the court ruled unanimously to uphold a district court ruling that reached the same conclusion.

In his decision, Judge Gerald Cope disputes arguments by the Florida Department of Children and Families that plantiff Martin Gill can serve as a foster parent but not as an adoptive parent.

“The Department has argued that evidence produced by its experts and [Gill's] experts supports a distinction where in homosexual persons may serve as foster parents or guardians, but not adoptive parents,” Cope writes. “Respectfully, the portions of the record cited by the Department do not support the Department’s position. We conclude there is no rational basis for the statute.”

In an e-mail blast, Equality Florida said it expects supporters of the adoption ban to appeal the case.

“While the appeals court has affirmed the ban is unconstitutional, it is likely the case will end up in the Florida Supreme Court,” the e-mail states.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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