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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Florida Demonstrates Its Commitment to Families…

posted by on October 1 at 9:42 AM

…by trying to prevent two boys from finding a permanent one.

A North Miami gay man began the court fight Wednesday to adopt two children he and his partner have cared for since 2004 through the state’s foster program…. The case is a new challenge to Florida’s 31-year-old law that allows gay people to foster children but forbids them from adopting.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman is presiding over the trial to determine whether [Frank Martin] Gill, 47, and his partner, 34, can adopt two half-brothers whom they’ve had custody of since December 2004. The boys’ mother and respective fathers lost their rights to raise the children in 2006.

In court records, Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin wrote that the state is trying to uphold public morality and working to “encourage optimal family structure by seeking to place adoptive children in homes that have both a mother and a father.”

But Gill’s attorneys maintain the state is discriminating against gays because no scientific research suggests that children fare better when raised by heterosexual parents.

Okay: the state of Florida placed these boys—foster kids, older kids, kids that are hard to find homes for—with this gay couple nearly four years ago. And now the state blows into court and argues that these men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt these two boys because that would be an affront to “public morality,” and besides the state wants to encourage “optimal family structures,” a.k.a. “every child deserves a mother and a father.”

But if being placed in a home with a vagina and a penis is important when a child is adopted, why isn’t it important when a child is fostered?

The state of Florida wants to have it both ways: Florida panders to the prejudice of homophobes and bigots by denying gay people the right to adopt—and punishes children by preventing them from finding permanent homes and a sense of real security—but Florida refuses to take the next, logical step and ban gay people from acting as foster parents too. Why is that?

Because willing foster parents are scarce, finding and screening foster parents is expensive, and the state of Florida—like all US states—can’t afford to turn away qualified foster parents, regardless of sexual orientation.

For decades Florida has been placing kids with gay foster parents indefinitely—again, those boys have been with that couple for four years—and it has gotten away with this hypocrisy because gay foster parents were afraid, quite rightly, of making waves. Sue the state to adopt kids you’ve been raising for years and the state could swoop in and take those kids from the only stable home they’ve ever known. Foster children placed with gay couples aren’t wards of the state, they’re hostages.

But increasingly gay foster parents aren’t willing to be used like this anymore. IF we’re fit to foster, we’re fit to adopt. Gay foster parents are suing and they’re winning.

RSS icon Comments


I can't all this good news today.

We may look back in 20 years and see George Bush as the greatest thing that ever happened to the progressive movement.

I'm serious - people will be embarassed about this gay hatred in the 'aughts' the way we are shamed about race relations in the 60's

Posted by DavidC | October 1, 2008 10:07 AM

Good Morning Dan,
Speaking of families, I came across this article:

This fellow has 13 children and he's only 29 y/o! These poor children. Their father is in prison for at least 15 years. I agree that gay men and women should be able to adopt. I truely believe virtually any single or committed gay man or woman would be a better parent (s) than this irresponsible and manipulative prick. There should be no barriers to adoption as long as the terms are the same for gays as for straight people. Barring a swing of good fortune and behavior of the mothers, these children are condemned to a cycle of dysfunction. I do "fathers" are necessary but I believe at least one good parent can handle the job.

Posted by lark | October 1, 2008 10:10 AM

It's all Crist's fault.

Posted by Jiminy Fricket | October 1, 2008 10:17 AM

The practical importance of this rule is this:

Florida is willing to pay gays to take care of children, it's just not willing to let them do it for free.

My wife works with foster kids. One of reasons it can be hard to get foster parents to adopt is that the money spigot turns off (with some exceptions). This is also the reason why states generally want foster parents to cease fostering and start adopting.

Don't be offended. It's sort of like the free market. They know what the services offered by those men in raising kids are worth and dammit, if they have anything to say about it, they will pay a fair price for them!

Posted by Jim | October 1, 2008 11:57 AM

wow. i'm in law school, and i couldn't imagine if i was the poor assistant AG who had to defend FL on this one. I wonder if you are ever allowed to turn the case down.

Posted by konstantconsumer | October 1, 2008 12:16 PM

Fortunately, thanks to the Bush Administration, the entire fucking state will soon be under water, and the refugees will be forced to live in states that don't treat them as ninth-class citizens.

Posted by gay dad | October 1, 2008 9:23 PM

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