MIAMI - After a successful fight to overturn Florida's ban on gay adoption, the two young brothers adopted by Martin Gill participated in an adoption ceremony in Judge Cindy Lederman's chambers in Miami-Dade County Juvenile Court today, marking the final step in their adoption process. Gill and his partner had served as foster parents to the two brothers for six years. Gill worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight for the right to adopt them by challenging Florida's 33-year-old ban on gay people adopting. As a result of the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of Gill, the ban was ended last year.
"We are thrilled that after so many years, we are officially a family in the eyes of the law," said Gill. "All children deserve a permanent, loving home. This is a happy day."
In November 2008, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Lederman held that the statute barring adoption by gay people is unconstitutional and granted Gill's petition to adopt brothers. Last year, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld that decision after the state appealed.
"Martin and his family were instrumental in ending one of the most discriminatory laws in the country," said Leslie Cooper, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Hopefully now, thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will be able to know the love and support of having a family."
"We are delighted for the Gill family, and thankful to Judge Lederman for seeing that justice was done for Florida's children," said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. "The welfare of the children of Florida and their need to be part of a permanent family had been held hostage to anti-gay politics for far too long. We wish Martin and his family all of the best, and we are thankful that the two brothers he has so lovingly cared for will have a permanent home and be part of a forever family."