Donna Pandori

Third gay adoption in Florida despite ban

Filed By Donna Pandori | February 01, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Florida, Florida gay adoption ban, gay adoption, Liberty Counsel

A gay adoption in Florida was granted to a lesbian couple by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia. This makes three in Florida despite the state-wide ban gay men and lesbians adopting. The story behind this adoption is heartwarming and just.

According to the Miami Herald story:

With the blessing of her large extended family, Vanessa Alenier took custody of an infant relative who had been seized by child welfare workers. She moved him into a yellow nursery with a blond wood crib, a blue-striped carpet and a mobile.

When she asked the state to for permission to adopt him, the application included a simple question.

Are you gay?

Alenier, 34, said she did not want to begin her journey as a parent with a lie. So she told the truth -- despite Florida's 33-year-old law banning gay men and lesbians from adopting.

The adoption was granted. What Judge Sampedro-Iglesia had to say in her ruling is after the jump.

``There is no rational connection between sexual orientation and what is or is not in the best interest of a child,'' Sampedro-Iglesia wrote in her order, obtained by The Miami Herald. ``The child is happy and thriving with [Alenier]. The only way to give this child permanency . . . is to allow him to be adopted'' by her.

In her ruling, Sampedro-Iglesia declared Florida's adoption law ``unconstitutional on its face.''

Alenier shares a home with her long-time partner. Alenier had this to say:

``We knew we wanted to be parents, both of us,'' Alenier said. The infant ``was a family member. We couldn't say no. We strongly wanted to be a family.

``It's the most amazing thing that ever happened to us,'' Alenier said. ``It's changed our lives.''

Of course conservative groups such as the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel are calling the ruling:

``evidence of judicial activism'' that violates state law

But...

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar at the Harvard University Law School, said the judge's action shows she was ``taking seriously [her] oath to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the United States.''

``A judge must put his or her duty to the U.S. Constitution above any to obey a clearly unconstitutional law,'' Tribe said.

The 1977 Florida adoption ban is in limbo in appeals court as some state court judges are already making up their minds as to the constitutionality of the ban. This case marks the third challenge to the ban.

Great story and pictures are up at The Miami Herald.


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