The Florida law banning LGBT adoptions has been declared unconstitutional by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman. An earlier ruling by judge David John Audlin Jr. in Key West had also cited the statute's unconstitutionality - but that decision carried little legal impact. Not so this time around. Lederman's ruling will allow Frank Martin Gill to finally adopt the two children he's been fostering for the last four years. From the Miami Herald: In her ruling, Lederman said children taken into state care have a ''fundamental'' right to be raised in a permanent adoptive home if they cannot be reunited with birth parents. Children whose foster parents are gay, she said, can be deprived of that right under the current law... Lederman dissected 30 years worth of psychological and sociological research, concluding that studies overwhelmingly have shown that gay people can parent every bit as effectively as straight people and do no harm to their children.
Florida's three-decades-old adoption law was originally passed by the state legislature during singer Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusade in the 70s. Anita was the Sally Kern of her day, gleefully spreading lies about homosexuality and whipping Southern Baptists into a frenzy of social intolerance from which they - and America - never fully recovered.
Here's how it went down. Back in 1977 Dade County passed a modest proposal that prohibited discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation. The ordinance, one of the few in the nation at that time, sent smoke shooting out of Anita's ears, and it inspired the former Miss Oklahoma to launch her so-called "Save Our Children" campaign which resulted in a reversal of Dade's statute. Bryant's fledgling "Christian" coalition was in fact the country's first organized opposition to the modern day gay rights movement, and its members regularly spouted invective against gays and lesbians that would make Shirley Roper Phelps blush. Antia herself often proclaimed at rallies, "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children! If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards." (Those two sentences are eerily reminiscent of recent statements by "Porno" Pete LaBarbera and "man-on-dog" Republican ex-senator Rick Santorum.) The anti-gay hysteria that resulted from Bryant's "Save Our Children" crusade was eventually responsible for the discriminatory Florida adoption law that Judge Cindy Lederman has now wisely overturned.
In the end, Anita Bryant's feverish coupling with Florida's right-wing Christians would leave a foul by-blow on the nation's political landscape. The child born of that union would forever be known to LGBT Americans as Hate.