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Florida Ban On Gay Adoption Falls; AG Won’t Appeal

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The nation’s only law banning adoptions by gay people effectively came to an end Friday, when Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said he would not go to court to fight a Miami appeals court decision that struck down the 33 year old ban.

McCollum’s decision followed that of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which decided against going to the Florida Supreme Court to ask it to overturn a lower court ruling striking down the ban.

The Appeals Court decision ruled Florida’s law un-constitutional in the case of a North Miami Beach gay man who wanted to adopt two brothers he had been keeping as foster children,

Florida law allowed gays to serve as foster parents, but refused them the right to formally adopt children.

The Third District Court of Appeals relied on experts who said, “gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents,” Judge Gerald Cope wrote for the appeals court panel in a 28-page decision.

McCollum would have had to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court to keep the law in effect, but his decision Friday not to do that clears the way for gays to be considered as parents under the same standards used for heterosexual candidates.

That does not mean McCollum supports the issue, or believes his decision will end the controversy.

McCollum said in a statement that the issue is divisive and should be decided by the state’s highest court, but, “it is clear that this is not the right case to take to the Supreme Court for its determination. No doubt someday a more suitable case will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this law.”

That said, the state has already changed adoption forms to eliminate any questions about sexual orientation.

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