US court: Gay adoption ban unlawful

2010-09-23 12:28

Washington - A Florida state law banning gay couples from adopting children is unconstitutional, a US federal appeals court said on Wednesday.

The court confirmed a lower court ruling in favour of a gay man who the Florida Department of Children and Families who in 2004 allowed to be the foster parent of two boys, ages four months and four years.

The man began the process of adopting the children two years later when their biological parents lost the right to visit the children for negligence - but the Florida DCF opposed the move because, by law, Florida forbids adoptions by gay people.

The man then sued for discrimination.

The appeals court ruling listed people with HIV, people who are disabled and people who have committed acts of violence against children that are allowed in Florida to become adoptive parents on a case-by-case basis. A bachelor can also adopt in the state.

Prohibition 'irrational'

"Except for homosexual persons, there is no automatic, categorical exclusion of anyone from consideration for adoption," read the ruling.

The Florida DCF argued "that there is a rational basis for the prohibition on homosexual adoption because children will have better role models, and face less discrimination, if they are placed in non-homosexual households, preferably with a husband and wife as the parents".

However gay men and women in Florida are allowed to be foster parents, or people who act as parents in place of the child's natural parents but without legally adopting the children.

"It is difficult to see any rational basis in utilising homosexual persons as foster parents or guardians on a temporary or permanent basis, while imposing a blanket prohibition on adoption by those same persons," the ruling said.