A Miami-Dade circuit judge Tuesday declared Florida's 30-year-old ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, allowing a North Miami man to adopt two foster kids he has raised since 2004.
In a 53-page order that sets the stage for what could become a constitutional showdown, Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman permitted 47-year-old Frank Gill to adopt the 4- and 8-year-old boys he and his partner have raised since just before Christmas four years ago. A child abuse investigator had asked Gill to care for the boys temporarily; they were never able to return to their birth parents.
''This is the forum where we try to heal children, find permanent families for them so they can get another chance at what every child should know and feel from birth, and go on to lead productive lives,'' Lederman said in court before releasing the order. "We pray for them to thrive, but that is a word we rarely hear in dependency court.''
''These children are thriving; it is uncontroverted,'' the judge added.
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Moments after Lederman released the ruling, attorneys for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced they would appeal the decision to the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami.
''We respect the court's decision,'' said attorney Valerie Martin, who had argued in support of the ban during a weeklong trial Oct. 1-6. But, she added: "Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we have filed a notice of appeal this morning.''
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