Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeals upheld an appeal ruling Wednesday that ended a prohibition on gays and lesbians adopting children in the state, joining many other states that have already done so.
Scientific research has consistently shown that there is no significant difference between heterosexual and homosexual parents and guardians, leaving personal bias that’s based on homophobia and religiously based moral judgments – both of which have no place in a secular government founded on equality – as the only reasons for the ban.
Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s running for U.S. Senate as an independent, has righteously announced his intentions to no longer continue the ban after the court’s ruling.
Before a resulting lawsuit, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) rejected an attempted adoption by a gay man, referred to as “F.G.” in court documents. DCF admitted that every aspect of his life was appropriate for adoption, but they had to reject him because of the state law regarding his sexual preference.
The ban prevented adoption by all gays and lesbians, yet hypocritically allowed them to legally serve as guardians on a temporary or permanent basis. The court saw this as an unfair legal loophole.
Evidence favoring the court’s ruling is strong, as shown by studies that found no difference between straight or gay parents in areas such as competence, burdens, stress, parenting justification, relationship satisfaction, division of labor and use of social support.
These studies have been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, Journal of Homosexuality, Human Reproduction, Journal of Family Psychology and Developmental Psychology, to name a few.
Last year, Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum specifically chose pseudo-scientist George Rekers – founder of the anti-gay Family Research Council – at a cost of $120,000 – to argue in court in favor of keeping the ban in place. His ideologically driven science was tossed out.
Rekers was later found to have traveled to Europe with a 20-year-old man who admitted to being his sexual companion during the trip.
McCollum’s attempt to justify the ban was a fiasco, illustrating the lack of serious arguments against ending it.
Responsible gay and lesbian couples who are cleared by DCF would be far better parents than heterosexual couples who are abusive, addicted to drugs or negligent and have had their children taken away from them.
Religious or cultural intolerance is another issue that did not come under consideration by the court. However, it remains a relevant concern for many. The U.S. is not a theocracy. It’s a democracy based on equality and the protection of minority groups’ rights.
Allowing all responsible members of society the chance to adopt is fair and opens more doors for those who need a home the most.