Today we woke up in a State that was just a tad bit less backward, as a Circuit Judge in Monroe County deemed Florida’s ban on Gay Adoption unconstitutional. It doesn’t mean that ban disappeared over night, or is necessarily going away any time soon. But it brings up a discussion the State has needed for a long time.
See, Florida is one of only two states in the country to have such a ban. The other: Mississippi, Goddam.
Not even the rest of the solidly red (necked) states have bothered with a ban, yet we’ve had one in place for over thirty years, and we’re more a purple state...one with a sizable GLBT population. Frankly, its something to be ashamed of, and a broken, outdated law. The cracks are beginning to show, and its time someone addressed it full-on. It's time Gov. Crist and the Legislature re-evaluted the law, instead of letting it play out in courtrooms.
The ruling could possibly lead to an annullment of the law, but to get there, it has to go through more courts and catch families up in a complicated legal fight. Then there are all the fundies who are going to be whining about legislating from the bench and activist judges. First off, back when I was discussing politics in third grade study group, we called this “checks and balances”. Secondly, I totally agree that legislators should be the ones legislating. Except sometimes they’re too worried about possible election ramifications by bringing up hot button issues.
Here’s the thing though. The Judge, David J. Audlin Jr, isn’t an activist judge. He wasn’t trying to make this into a moralistic victory for all Gaykind. He’s not legislating from the bench, despite what the right-wing spinsters are saying (Matthew Staver of the Liberty Counsel in the Herald: ''I think this kind of ruling illustrates why judges should judge and not be activists… Apparently, he should run for office, as opposed to sitting behind a bench.''). He was just a judge making the right decision in a case who had to bend a shitty, blanket law to get there.
The case in question dealt with a 13 year old boy with special needs who was placed in foster care in 2001 with a Key West man who just so happens to be gay. Audlin has appointed the foster father as the boy’s guardian two years ago, but wanted to extend full parental rights to the father (notice it’s father, not fathers in this case.So we’re not even talking about two people of the same sex adopting a child together, we’re talking about anyone who is openly gay. It’s some Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell type bullshit, and a bit of an invasion of privacy.)
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Besides, the thought that gay parents are fit to be foster parents and not actual parents is so laughable I don't know how it's managed to survive the last 30 years. It's just bad policy to place kids in loving families who want to adopt them only to yank them away because that family doesn’t happen to fit a convoluted Christian ideal.
If you don’t remember, Florida’s adoption ban was one of the motivating factors that led Rosie O’Donnell to publicly discuss her sexuality. She had been in custody of a child, but then Florida took her away. Her coming out interview was also an expo on Florida’s law. But not even the full force of Rosie could get anything done.
It’s unclear how the case will develop. The state supreme court could still overturn the ruling. Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office hasn’t made any indication yet. Either they'll try and appeal this decision, or some other family will use it as precedent. We’re fixing up for big, costly, complicated courthouse drama.