Appeals Court Rules Florida’s Gay Adoption Ban Is Still Unconstitutional, Crist Announces Moratorium

Yesterday, the Florida Court of Appeals for the Third District unanimously upheld a lower court’s finding that there is “no rational basis” for Florida’s statutory ban on gay and lesbian people adopting children in the state. “Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents,” the opinion states. “No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument.”

Gov. Charlie Crist — whose recent conversion on gay rights led him to at one point suggest that the case should be dropped entirely has announced that the state will stop enforcing the 33-year-old ban and will “confer with the adoptive father at the center of the case before deciding whether to appeal. He said, however, that he believes the state Supreme Court wouldn’t overturn the court rulings.” Towelroad has this video of Crist’s remarks:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, meanwhile, said he was opposed to what he termed “single sex adoption.” “Children should be raised in a home with a married man and a woman,” Scott said.

Florida, of course, is the only state to explicitly prohibit gays and lesbians from adopting children. The state enacted the ban in 1977 — on the heels of Anita Bryant’s campaign against expanded rights for gay people and two years before the first reported case of an adoption by an openly gay person anywhere in the country. At the time, Bryant and other conservatives claimed that “the recruitment of our children is absolutely necessary for the survival and growth of homosexuality–for since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must recruit, they must freshen their ranks.”

Back in March, two Florida lawmakers introduced legislation to overturn the state’s gay adoption ban, but were forced to withdraw the measure due to conservative opposition.

During Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, he issued a position paper which said that “he believes that children are best raised in a traditional family. Accordingly, he does not support repealing the ban on adoption by same-sex couples.”