Governor Considering Dropping Appeal of Florida Lesbian/Gay Adoption Ban Lawsuit

I’ll add this little note to the end of the current string on the Florida ban on adoption by lesbian/gay people.   You can read about the ban (which is a legacy of Anita Bryant’s campaign in the 1970s) in the earlier posts.  

There are a number of cases in which the ban has been ruled unconstitutional.   Some are on appeal.   And  now this story from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog says that the Governor of Florida (Charlie Christ, running for US Senate as an independent) is considering dropping the state’s appeal in the case involving Martin Gill.  Christ attributes this deliberation to his becoming less judgmental with age, but I’m sure many suspect a more cynical political calculation is responsible.

In any event, it’s worth nothing that Gill (the successful adoptive father) and his ACLU lawyers do not want Florida to drop its appeal.   They’ve a strong argument here and an appellate court decision striking the ban would have a much broader legal impact than any concession in the case.   I’ll try to keep an eye on this one. It does look increasingly like the Florida ban will not survive that much longer.  After all, it’s only been in place 33 years or so.

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6 responses to “Governor Considering Dropping Appeal of Florida Lesbian/Gay Adoption Ban Lawsuit

  1. So dropping the appeal makes the governer look more moderate without changing the discriminatory law?

    • It’s probably not within his power to change the law–only the legislature can do that. (This is analogous to the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell debate right now, where the administration would like to change the law, but Congress has not quite gotten there yet.) That being the case, continuing the appeal would seem to be more hostile to lesbian/gay parents, as it would be continuing to insist on the rightness of the law. By contrast, not appealling sort of cedes the point. It’s just that in this instance, the plaintiff (and his lawyers) do not want to just win for themselves–they want to go for the larger win. I think it must bespeak a certain confidence that they will indeed win.

      • How could they not win? Laws created during a time where discrimination was commonplace will be changed overtime. I believe that logic and tolerance will win out over close mindedness.

  2. There is another perspective. By dropping a loser appeal, the State can escape creating a line of appellate decisions that deem the Statute unconstitutional.

    So doing, they can extend the “life” of this silly ban.

    • True enough. The case at issue so far only has limited effect. The higher up the system it goes, the broader the effect of the case. The desire for the winning side here to have the appeal continue reflects some expectation that further decisions are likely to go the plaintiff’s way. And conversely, the state’s best shot at continuing the policy might be to protect it from appellate scrutiny by withdrawing its appeal.

    • Clever and duplicitous. .

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