||11-25-2009 02:25 PM
Florida is the only state to specifically ban members of the LGBT community from adopting a child; although it hypocritically will allow a someone who is gay to foster a child until they are 18. The law specifically states "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual." This incongruity is a farce. It violates the rights of Florida's 20,000+ children who are languishing in foster care, especially the 3,500 who are up for permanent adoption at any one time because it violates their right to permanency. It hurts LGBT individuals and couples who are denied the ability to both provide a public service and to grow their own family. It hurts Florida financially and it hurts the very future of these children.
Currently attention is focused on the case of Martin Gill who is attempting to adopt two foster children who have been in his care since 2004. Gill and his partner had successfully fostered many other children for years so it was not surprising, when the state came to them in 2004 asking them to help out two brothers, John and James, who had just been taken from their parents that night. These children were in need of the special care and attention that the Gills had become well known for providing.
John, age 4, arrived at the Gills with filthy clothes, a severe case of ringworm and was so silent as to be almost comatose. The only time he responded to his environment was when his 4-month old brother, James needed assistance. This 4 year old boy would change his baby brother's diaper with the practiced skill of someone who had done so all too often.
John used grunts to communicated and hoarded food as if he feared he might never eat again.
These boys had lived in a world of chronic neglect and emotional impoverishment but when they arrived at the Gill home the found the love and care they so desperately needed.
Fast forward to the summer of 2008—Frank Gill attempts to adopt these two boys whose lives one could quite easily say he and his partner, Tom Roe, had saved. To that effect they challenged the states anti-gay adoption law by arguing that the ban violated the Florida Constitution by denying the rights of the children.
Judge Lederman, a circuit-court judge, agreed and ruled the ban unconstitutional thus giving Gill the permission to adopt the boys. Lederman stated, "The constitutional finding is that [the children] have a right to permanence. And permanency is not is not achieved by taking them out of the Gill home where they are thriving" and highlighted that the Gills are "are a family, a good family, in every way, except in the eyes of the law."
This of course led to an appeal from Florida's Attorney General's office who challenged the ruling in an appeal case heard earlier this summer. Currently the Gills are awaiting the verdict but regardless of whether they win or lose the case, it will likely head to Florida's Supreme Court and should they prove victorious there, one would then expect the anti-gay forces will push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay adoption which would negate the ruling of the courts.
It is obvious to all not caught up anti-gay fervor that the best interest of children are not preserved by prohibiting a gay man such as Martin Gill from adopting. In this particular case, the boys are thriving both socially and academically and everyone who knows the boys, including a state-appointed guardian and a child therapist, say this house is where they belong.
That the state of Florida would appeal this case violates every rule of decency and fairness by threatening to tear these children away from a home that has loved and cared for them simply because their "papi" is gay. James, now four-years-old, has never known another home so perhaps he might recover but John, who remembers their previous abandonment and neglect, would no doubt suffer permanently from trust issues were they to be taken away now and possibly separated into different foster care homes. In the four years they have been eligible for adoption, not one heterosexual couple has tried to do so. As they continue to age the odds of adoption will surely only decrease.
To give you how obviously bigoted this law is let me point out the following…
The state makes a third of its adoptive placement with single parents (since Gill can't marry Roe he is "technically single")
•Adoption ban came about in 1977 as part of an unveiled expression of bigotry when the state was experiencing a severe backlash to demands for civil rights by gay people in Miami.
.*********•Adoption applicants with serious chronic medical conditions that could predictably compromise their ability to provide the physical, emotional, social and economic support necessary for a child to thrive are subject to review by the Adoption Review Committee. Fla. Admin. Code section 65C-16.005(9)(1).
•Individuals who have been convicted of (a) assault; (b) batter; or (c) a drug-related offense (Fla. Stat. §39.0138(3)) with the previous five years are NOT banned from adopting children. Though they do have to pass a review.
•Even individuals found guilty of a) child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; (b) domestic violence; (c) child pornography or other felony in which a child was a victim of the offense; or (d) homicide, sexual battery, or other felony involving violence, other than felony assault or felony battery when an adult was the victim of the assault or battery. Fla. Stat. §39.0138(2) are NOT banned. They are merely "carefully evaluated as to the extent of their habilitation. Fla. Stat. § 39.0138(2)"
So there you have it—people previously convicted of abusing children, domestic violence, assault, battery and drug sale or use are all given a chance to adopt a child but if you have the dreaded "gay disease" you are out and out banned from adoption regardless of your individual character. No review, no consideration, no adoption.*********
:sick::sick::sick::sick: My comments:Obviously the child's wellbeing or interests are not considered by Fla Laws. A loving gay father who provides a stable loving environment for two boys is not the sickness or the problem, it is people's perceptions and bigotry that is the problem... Obviously many children will suffer because of these statutes. They make no sense.... unless I guess, you are a bigot.
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