Earlier today, Martin Gill, his partner and the two young boys they’ve been foster parenting for the last six years participated in an adoption ceremony in Judge Cindy Lederman’s chambers in Miami-Dade County Juvenile Court.
On its surface, the circumstances of this family coming together seemed pretty straightforward: Two boys suffering from neglect — both had ringworm and the younger brother had an untreated ear infection — were placed in the caring home of Martin and his partner just before Christmas six years ago. In the Gill home, the boys thrived, recovering not only from the physical ailments they’d had when they arrived, but overcoming the emotional and developmental setbacks they’d suffered as well.
When it became clear that it was not possible to reunite the boys with their birth family, Martin and his partner attempted to adopt the two boys, to make permanent the home and bonds they had forged and provide a stable, loving environment in which the boys could continue to grow. It was hard to imagine any reason why this adoption would not be granted.
Their adoption application was rejected, because for more than three decades, this adoption — or any adoption by gay men or lesbians — was prohibited by Florida law.
In 1977, encouraged by Anita Bryant and her organization “Save Our Children,” Florida lawmakers passed a discriminatory law barring gay men and lesbians from adopting children. The rhetoric used to support the ban was hateful and as untrue then as we know it is today:. That we were trying to convert children to homosexuality; that gay couples who wanted to adopt were “recruiting,” that children raised by gay men and lesbians would somehow turn out damaged. These outright lies that nevertheless convinced the state of Florida to pass an adoption ban.
It was Martin’s case, started shortly after the Lofton defeat,that would prove to be the challenge that finally took down the law. Judge Lederman, who presided over the adoption ceremony today, first ruled that the law was unconstitutional. That, in fact, the ban “causes harm to the children it is meant to protect.” The state appealed that ruling to Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeals, which agreed with Judge Lederman. At that point, the state declined to pursue further appeals, allowing today’s ceremony to finally happen.
I’m glad to see such a blatantly oppressive law overturned. Best of luck to Mr. Gill, his partner and their children.
Back in July 2010, I wrote of my experience getting a new passport for my son, who has two moms, and the difficulties presented by the “Father’s Name” and “Mother’s Name” blanks on the application. Over 900 of you signed the petition asking the State Department to revise the passport application to say “Parent” and “Parent” — making it more inclusive of all families.
Success! On December 22, the State Department announced it will be making this change, and the application will be revised to say “Parent” and “Parent.”
The movement to equalize health benefits among gay employees with domestic partners continues to pick up speed.
As it stands now, gay workers who are fortunate enough to work for employers that extend health insurance to domestic partners are still at a disadvantage because they are taxed on the value of that coverage — a tax that is not paid by the heterosexual married person in the next cubicle.
But a growing number of companies, now including Facebook, Bain & Co. and possibly Boston Consulting Group, are attempting to level the playing field for same-sex couples by covering those extra costs, since their unions are not recognized by the federal government. The new policy at Facebook and Bain will take effect on Jan. 1. Boston Consulting said it expects to adopt the policy shortly, and it would also probably take effect on Jan. 1.
I have to give the devil his due. Very nice to hear.
Today in Illinois, both houses of the state legislature approved a bill granting civil unions to same-sex couples. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law, as he said he would support the unions while campaigning.
The bill says that a civil union, expressly stated as between “two persons of either the same or opposite sex,” entitles the parties of the union to the “same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.” It also says that Illinois recognizes civil unions or similar unions entered into in other jurisdictions, and provides a mechanism for them to be dissolved.
In the Senate, the measure passed 32 to 24, and in the House, it passed 61 to 52.
A Florida appeals court Wednesday struck down a state law barring gay men and lesbians from adoption on the basis of equal protection under law.
Shortly after the ruling, Gov. Charlie Crist — who is running for a U.S. Senate seat as an independent — announced that he would not enforce the ban in light of the ruling.
The Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court ruling that Florida’s explicit ban was unconstitutional, noting that the state’s adoption law required officials to assess potential adoptive parents in “the best interests of the child.”
Refreshing to see some open-mindedness in this world.
Well done, Ikea.
Today in “Companies That Are Not Morally Bankrupt” news.
This week, the California State Senate voted 22-12 to approve joint resolution (AJR 19), which urges the President and the U.S. Congress to immediately repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA was enacted as law during the Bush administration to prevent the the federal government or any of its agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages that are legally binding in states that have ended marriage discrimination.
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors stated:
“The Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing the relationships of loving same-sex couples, even when the states where they live recognize their relationships. We’re proud of the California legislature for making the state’s opposition to DOMA official state policy. Now we must overturn this discriminatory federal law and pave the way for the marriages of same-sex couples to be recognized at the federal level.”
Will D.C. listen? Perhaps we first need to repeal Prop 8 for good in California and get other states to pass similar resolutions.
In other LGBT news from California, the California State Senate has passed the Unemployment Benefits Act (AB 2055) by a vote of 23-11 vote. The bill give same-sex couples in California legal access to unemployment benefits. The bill will now go back to the state Assembly floor for a procedural concurrence vote, where if passed, will be presented to the governor to be signed into law.
Seton Hall Pirates eager to sign up for this semester’s course on gay marriage, your prayers have been answered! Despite the efforts of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to shut down “The Politics of Gay Marriage,” a seminar at the university about the issue’s history as a idealogical issue and subject of legislation (sounds like a gut—just sayin’…), the class will go on as scheduled. The syllabus has been sent to students, the course is listed on Seton Hall’s online schedule, and there’s even a real classroom for it.
When South Orange’s best and brightest file into their seats next week, it will be something of a defeat for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Myers has been visibly fighting the presence of such a course at New Jersey’s largest Catholic university, the Star-Ledger reports.
James Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark archbishop, said he had not heard of any final decision on the class. But Myers continues to believe the gay marriage course is “not in sync with Catholic teaching,” Goodness said.
The professor, W. King Mott, is one of the rare openly gay professors at Seton Hall. He’s fought battles over gay rights before: in 2005, he lost his post as associate dean after publishing a letter in the Star-Ledger attacking the Catholic Church’s stand on homosexuality.
The class will also feature guest speakers to “share their personal stories,” and will take place at the school’s Jubilee Hall, in case you want to show up. Hey, you can always audit it!
That’s wonderful to hear! I want to a Jesuit university that was quite inconveniently located down the street from a cardinal, and he was always meddling in our affairs. Case in point: Rainbow Week had to change its name. Good for you, Seton Hall!