Florida ends ban on gay, lesbian adoptions

Florida joins the 21st century and the other 49 states plus Washington DC!! EVERY Child deserves a loving, nurturing, caring parents whether they be straight, gay or lesbian. NO child deserves to be held a “legal” orphan hostage to the system because of this issue. I know some reading this may not agree with me. However, as one who spent 18 years in the foster care system and never adopted I know I would have loved for any loving, caring nurturing parents to have adopted me!

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 22, 2010 5:21 p.m. EDT

Florida’s ban on adoptions by gay men and lesbians came to an official end Friday.

Attorney General Bill McCollum said the case that led to the overturning of the state’s 33-year-old law wasn’t the “right case” to take to the state’s Supreme Court.

Licensed foster parent Frank Martin Gill had sued to have the ban overturned. He wanted to adopt two boys who had been placed in his care after the Florida Department of Children and Families removed them from their home for neglect.

Gill and his partner have been raising the boys for six years.

“We are relieved that this process has finally come to an end, and that we can focus on being a family,” Gill said in a statement released Friday. “All children deserve a chance at finding a stable, loving and permanent home. Over the 33 years of the ban, this archaic law has harmed countless foster children by denying them a forever family.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Children and Families announced it would not appeal a September decision by the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal that found the law unconstitutional.

“We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” said Joe Follick, the department’s communications director.

“But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion — and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision — has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome.”

The appeals court opinion made adoption possible for gay and lesbians in Florida statewide.

The state agency said it has removed from adoption forms the question about an applicant’s sexual orientation. Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the department to stop enforcing the law after Lederman’s ruling.

Florida was the only remaining state to prohibit gay adoption.

Brandon Hensler of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida told CNN it is possible that some other case might try to challenge the court decisions, but he thinks such a move is unlikely.

Gill and his supporters planned to celebrate McCollum’s decision late Friday.

California Law Now Extends Care to 21

From now on, California will keep young people in foster care until they turn 21. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger held a ceremonial signing of Assembly Bill 12 in Los Angeles Wednesday.

The governor signed the bill on the campus of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. He said that from now on, foster care kids won’t have to worry about aging out of the system when they turn 18.

“They need help. It’s ludicrous to think that at the age of 18, you can take care of yourself,” said Schwarzenegger.

That applies to all kids, he said, whether they’re in foster care or not. The governor called the foster care extension a partnership.

“The kids have to take care of things, and also we have to take care of things,” he said. “We for instance continue giving them financial and social support, which is important for them, but they in return have to go to school, or go to work and meet regularly with their case workers. But let me tell you something: this is the greatest investment that we can make in our state.”

He referred to study results that say for every dollar the state invests in foster care, it saves 2 and a half dollars in the future. Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass co-wrote the legislation. The Los Angeles Democrat and Congressional candidate said the economic recession has given rise to a common expression: Boomerang Kids.”

“Young people forced by the economy to return to their parents’ home and support,” said Bass. “But what happens to a boomerang that doesn’t have a place to go back to? It just gets thrown away.”

A combination of state and federal money will pay for the three extra years foster kids can spend in the system.

Oct. 6, 2010 | Brian Watt | KPCC