The Miami-Dade Florida circuit court judge who ruled Florida's shameful gay adoption ban unconstitutional in November 2008, a 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.
When 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: