Waymon Hudson

Florida Judge Who Struck Down Gay Adoption Ban Demoted

Filed By Waymon Hudson | July 15, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, The Movement
Tags: adoption ban, Florida, Judge Cindy Lederman, Miami, Miami-Dade

The Miami-Dade Florida circuit court judge who ruled Florida's shameful gay adoption ban unconstitutional in November 2008, 16a.jpga case currently being appealed, has been demoted.

For over 15 years, Judge Cindy Lederman served as top administrative judge over Miami-Dade's juvenile courts. The announcement came from the new Chief Justice over Miami courts, who says he "wants new perspectives and leadership." My impression from the announcement: "we need someone who doesn't like gays and will keep the bigoted status quo."

This is a huge loss of the juvenile courts and for all for all fair-minded Floridians.

It is also a huge loss for me and my family. Judge Lederman is the judge who placed our foster son with us and presided over our court dates.

Judge Cindy (as our son called her) is exactly the kind of person you'd want as a top juvenile court judge. She cared deeply about every child that came through her court, always looking at what was best for them. Many of the kids she presided over were in the system for years. She became a friend and mentor to them as she did her best to help them in a state known for its horrible foster care system.

She had long been a judge who realized the ridiculousness of Florida's horrendous Adoption Ban specifically aimed at gays and lesbians. She saw how it was rooted in fear, ignorance, and bigotry traced all the way back to the days of hate-filled Orange Juice Queen Anita Bryant. She only considered what was best for the child, not close-minded fears about someone's sexual orientation.

Her "perspective and leadership" were right on point and exactly what Florida needed.

Franke.jpgWhen we appeared before her to become the foster parents of our son, she was fair, smart, and completely invested in doing what was best for him. She teared up when we gave him a permanent home (as permanent as possible under the ban) and saw how happy we all were in subsequent court appearances. She had been his judge for years, often corresponding with him during tough times, like when the state made horrible decisions that ended up leaving him homeless.

She even hugged him and us after the initial hearing.

My family, and the many other families that Judge Lederman helped form and became part of, will miss her leadership and compassion.

To see her love for children and for doing what is in their best interest used as a reason to demote her is like a knife in the heart. Judge Lederman was what our state needed more of- a juvenile judge who did what was right and saw beyond small-minded hate to what was most important:

The children.


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The New Chief is shaping the politico-legal mileu and weltenschauung of the court.

It will reflect the growing evangelical presence in Miami....

Get ready for worse...

That's what we are all afraid of...

Thanks for passing along the news, Waymon. Any insight into the background/politics of the new head of the juvenile courts, Orlando Prescott?

None yet. Still digging. I'll update when I find anything out.

Perhaps it's time for a "March on Miami". City by city, street by street, SOMEONE has to stand up for the children.

What is WRONG with these people?? Their, "My way or the highway" is fine...if we're just dealing with them, but, there are so many children who need families.

Waymon...you're probably at the GLBT event in the Keys, but, tell me, what can we do????

I'm actually not at the event in the Keys (I have to be in Kansas City tomorrow with Anthony), but I think there should be some kind of community response, especially as we find out more about where the new head of Juvenile courts, Orlando Prescott, stands.

As I find out more, I'll pass it along.

i don't mean to be the voice of darkness here...but i'll tell you what's wrong with these people.

there is a community of people who feel that homosexuality is so abhorrent that any child who is exposed to this awful, awful, lifestyle will be irreperably harmed.

they are so convinced of this that they are willing to overlook what happens when children are forced into homelessness, or institutionalization, or abuse...because they see it as choosing the lesser of two evils.

there is another, sometimes ovelapping, community of people who feel that gay people are, every single day, trying to convert a new generation into "teh gay"; for them this ban is also a question of child safety.

yes, this is insane...and yes, it appears to be violative of the separation of church and state...but these are not rational thinkers.

instead, these are ideologues--which means that, in some places, the only way to beat this might be one family at a time...and that's a tough row to hoe as well.

May I humbly suggest that you contact Judge Cindy before going off half-cocked. If she confirms your suspicions, I say give 'em both guns blasting! However, being a retired judge, I have a feeling this is just petty administrative sniping, and the good judge may well be rid of the burden of administrative duties. Does this make any sense?

I agree and it makes complete sense. That's exactly there is much more looking into things to do before we "storm the courthouse." :) I will say that her response thus far in the media (that she "respects the decision") certainly raises a few flags. But much more digging needs to be done.

Depending on the cause behind this, it may be just a matter of our community recognizing her contributions and showing our appreciation to the Judge. Or if something more sinister is at play, then we need to be prepared.

Whatever the reason for the demotion, it is a true loss for the children of Florida and for equality in our state.

Rick Sours | July 16, 2009 2:36 PM

agree...this clearly needs more investigation

If after further research our fears are well founded, there is truly reason for concern.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 16, 2009 5:25 AM

Waymon on the face of it this seems as thoughtful as the child welfare system in Florida losing kids "in the system" which was the Florida scandal of 2003 was it not? I hope along with "crapaud" above that this reduction in administrative duties will allow her more time on the bench doing what she did for you, Anthony and your son.

Thanks for the heads up on the continuing difficulty of living anywhere in Florida other than the Keys and Ft Laudy metro.

Let's hope something good comes out of this. Like I said, still doing some digging to see what the repercussions of this might be.

And as a side note- it seems a replay of the "lost kids" scandal is brewing in FL. I'll be posting on that soon too.

This sucks. Hopefully you'll be able to keep the child, Waymon. I tried to get custody of a young child a few years ago, and the homophobic courts up here in Volusia County refused.

She was sent to an abusive aunt/uncle in the Panhandle against my warnings and the child was beaten unmercifully and taken from the home as I predicted.

Today, three years later, she's in a group home, not allowed to contact me or jb, and vice versa.

I sorry to hear about your experience, Howey. It's unfortunately all too common in Florida. This is why we have to get rid of the horrific adoption ban we have in FL.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 16, 2009 10:00 AM

If all the horror done to children was compressed into a single moment it would destroy the world. This is why I concentrated on neighborhood and child welfare issues for 22 years in Chicago. No, we never adopted, but we helped kids and they knew they were being helped by a Gay couple while living with their families. It was so rewarding, I miss it, and I hope others not inclined to adopt consider sponsoring Special Olympics, Little League and keeping the streets around you safe for children.

Having just relocated to Florida (Tampa) in March, reading things like this is very disheartening. Between this and Amendment 2, I sometimes question my decision to move here.

Guess I'll just keep trying to get the word out and motivate some action. Thanks for posting this.

Regan DuCasse | July 19, 2009 12:45 AM

For every person that says gay couples are a detriment to children, are not adopting them, nor are they invested in helping the heteros who conceive them.

I live in Los Angeles, and the most active and detrimental recruiting that goes on of children is into GANG MEMBERSHIP and drug use or dealing.
I'd laugh at the stupid things these people say and do, if they weren't always screwing up so many lives in their zeal against gays and lesbians.

NO ONE is safe from gangs. Haven't they heard of how many school children (among others) are murdered by gang warfare in America?!
It truly, truly hate stupid people!