Three cheers for Judge Audlin, and three more cheers for this, from my state:
KEY WEST, Fla. -- A circuit court judge has ruled unconstitutional Florida's 31-year-old gay adoption ban, one of only two such statewide bans in the country.
The Monroe County judge's ruling allows a gay foster parent here to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since 2001, but does not mean there will be any statewide change in policy.
Circuit judges in Florida have twice before found the statute unconstitutional, both in 1991, though both challenges stalled. A case in Miami expected to be heard next month could also challenge the law.
Mississippi is the only other state to forbid gays from adopting.
The case here in gay-friendly Key West involves a 13-year-old boy with learning disabilities and special needs and his 52-year-old foster father, neither of whom are identified in court filings. A home study by a social worker highly recommended the guardian and his partner be allowed to adopt the boy.
Judge David J. Audlin Jr. wrote in his ruling, which has not yet been formally published, that the Florida law forbidding gay people from adopting children is contrary to the state Constitution because it singles out a group for punishment.
"Contrary to every child welfare principle," Audlin wrote, "the gay adoption ban operates as a conclusive or irrebuttable presumption that ... it is never in the best interest of any adoptee to be adopted by a homosexual."