Editor's Note: Howard L. Simon is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
The disappointing decision by the California Supreme Court is but one step back in the midst of a human rights revolution for gays and lesbians that is happening before our eyes. We are confident that this revolution brings the promise of fairness and equality to our gay and lesbian brothers, children, colleagues and friends.
The ACLU was one of several organizations to bring the challenge to proposition 8 that was the subject of today's ruling by the California Supreme Court; and the ACLU will continue to lead the fight for LGBT equality in America.
The dominos of progressive change are falling in this country, as evidenced by the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Iowa and soon the whole of New England as well as recognitions of such marriages by Canada and other countries throughout the world.
Yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court is a devastating step backward, but it reminds us that we have plenty of room to move forward here in Florida. Right now the ACLU's lawsuit to overturn Florida's ban on adoptions by gays and lesbians is on appeal to Florida's District Court of Appeals. We know that we have the force of history on our side.
The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that adoptions by same-sex couples in other states must now be recognized by Florida, and now the time is upon us for Florida's discriminatory adoption ban to be struck down. There are thousands of children in Florida's overburdened foster care system, and continuing to deny eligible gays and lesbians the ability to adopt is cruel to those children.
We are witnessing incredible change, and today's defeat is merely one step back. Just 23 years ago, in the infamous case of Bowers v. Hardwick, the U.S. Supreme Court gave legal support to discrimination against gays and lesbians - a ruling that was overturned in Texas v. Lawrence in 2003. Now, just 6 years after the ruling that in effect no longer made it a crime to be gay in America, our nation is debating marriage equality and the right to adopt. There are plenty of steps we can take here in Florida, and we know that - despite yesterday's disappointing ruling - the movement of history is on our side.