The state of Florida will immediately stop enforcing its ban on adoptions by gay people after Wednesday's decision by a state appeals court that the three-decade-old law is unconstitutional, Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday.
"The unanimous 3-0 decision deals a critical blow to Florida's 33-year-old law banning adoption by gay men and lesbians, and most likely sends the case to Florida's highest court for resolution," The Miami Heraldwrote Wednesday morning.
The decision from the third district court of appeal in Miami will allow
Frank Martin Gill, the gay father at the center of the case, to keep
the two sons he and his partner adopted in 2009 after fostering the boys
for several years.
"I'm very pleased with the ruling on behalf of the Gills," Crist told reporters in Tallahassee. "It's a great day for children. Children deserve a loving home."
Crist had previously supported the state's gay adoption ban, but earlier this month, suggested his opinion on the ban had softened. In a position paper for his U.S. Senate campaign released earlier this month, he expressed support for "hospital visitation, inheritance and adoption rights; opposition to the ban on gays serving in the military; support for anti-discrimination laws and appropriations for HIV and AIDS programs."
The appeals court decision is not the final word on the law. Gill and his legal team at the American Civil Liberties Union are hoping to take the case to the Florida supreme court to obtain a final statewide ruling on the law.