Riptide was going to write you up a nice "The Florida Supreme Court for Dummies" post, but in its research found itself caught up in tangents. Our interest was spurred in part by yesterday's overturning of the gay adoption ban by a Miami judge (as well as by future Crist appointments). The issue will likely find itself before the Florida Supreme Court. But the court has taken up the issue before in James W. Cox vs. Florida Department
of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) back in 1995. If I am reading my legalese correctly, the court upheld the ban, but decided its constitutionality could be challenged in the future.
The only Justice to full out disagree with the ruling was Harry Lee Anstead. In his descent he punched more holes in the ban than Swiss cheese.
Anstead was concerned that too much of HRS's case relied almost exclusively on the state's sodomy law, and that it, in theory at least, applied to homosexuals and heterosexuals. The good news is that the state basically built its entire case in 1995 against gay adoption around a law that no longer exists. The US Supreme Court struck down all sodomy laws in 2003. So, it will be interesting to see what kind of legal gymnastics lawyers put together this time.
Anstead's opinion then goes on to blast the sodomy law some more, before finding
it quite strange that in Florida ex-Felons and registered child
abusers can apply to adopt, but homosexuals can not.
"The differential treatment of felons and child abuser on one hand and
homosexuals on the other raises a serious substantive due process
question. It suggests that the state is completely denying gays acces
to any meaningul legal process, even the intensive scutiny reserved for
felons and child abuser. Before the State can deny due process in this
manner, it must at least advance a legitimate reason for doing so based
in fact and emprical study."
Unfortunately, Anstead will be forced off the court in January when he
hits the mandatory retirement age of 70 (what happened to the idea that
old age brings wisdom?), and another Justice will hit seven decades of
life in March. So by the time this issue hits the court again,
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the ideology of the current bench may be shifted radically to the
The good news is that the legal arguments used to defend the ban in 1995 will no longer hold up.