Constitutional Law

Trial Judge in Fla. Strikes State-Law Ban on 'Gay Adoption'

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A 31-year-old prohibition against adoptions of children by same-sex couples in Florida has been held unconstitutional by a trial judge in Monroe County.

The ruling, which allows a 52-year-old openly gay foster parent in Key West to adopt the disabled teenager he has been raising since 2001, held that the state law imposing the ban violates both the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution, reports the Miami Herald. State law allows openly gay and lesbian individuals to serve as foster parents, but bans what the newspaper refers to as “gay adoption.”

“Circuit judges in Florida have found the statute unconstitutional twice before, … in 1991, but both challenges stalled. A Miami case expected to be heard next month may provide an additional challenge to the law,” the Herald writes.

As a holding by a trial judge in a single case, the ruling allowing the foster parent and his partner to adopt the teen doesn’t have any precedential value in other courts, although it may prove persuasive. “But for these two men and their child, it has greater effect than any order by the Supreme Court,” says Michael Allen, a law professor at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Florida is reportedly one of only two states that have laws banning adoptions by same-sex couples. Mississippi is the other.

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