and Gender blog by Heron Greenesmith, legislative counsel at the
Family Equality Council.
Until September of 2010, the State of Florida banned lesbian, gay,
and bisexual parents from adopting their children. To be precise,
Florida law prohibited an otherwise eligible person from adopting
if that person was a “homosexual.”
Interestingly, Florida law allowed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) parents to foster children; in fact many LGBT
parents were encouraged to foster multiple children, but they were
barred from ever legally acknowledging their parent-child
relationship. This blatant contratiction in state law led to an
appellate court overturning the ban on LGBT adoption. In re
Gill, 45 So. 3d 79 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010) confirmed the lower
court’s finding that there was no rational basis for the ban.
In re Gill was decided almost 15 years after our highest
court found that an anti-LGBT law lacked rational basis: Romer
v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996). Colorado voters had
approved a referendum that prevented any town, city, or county in
the state from enacting any kind of law that would protect against
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Kennedy wrote
the decision for the Supreme Court, finding that a state law does
not pass rational basis if it is driven by animus towards a
specific class of people.
These decisions are shaping the future of state adoption and
For more, click here.