>By John Stemberger
What Exactly Did Miami Judge Cindy Lederman’s Decision Do?
In November of 2008, Miami Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman ruled in a 54 page decision that (in her opinion) Florida’s ban on homosexuals adopting children is somehow “unconstitutional”. She came to this conclusion with no direct precedent or legal authority. In her view, Florida’s 35 year old adoption law now all of a sudden “violates” the equal protection clause of the state constitution. Judge Lederman ruled that there was no evidence to prove that children would be “harmed” if adopted by homosexual parents.
Why was Judge Lederman’s Ruling Wrong?
The decision by Judge Lederman is classic, text-book, judicial activism. Instead of interpreting and enforcing the plain language of the statute, which has been held constitutional by federal courts, she openly and brazenly defied the rule of law. She ignored the will of the people as expressed through the legislature and inserted her own personal opinion. Instead of exercising her proper judicial role as a restrained academic interpreter of existing law, she became a social change agent and usurped her limited role.
Why Not Allow Homosexuals to Adopt Children?
In short, it is not the best arrangement for the rearing of children. Even openly gay activists had admitted this obvious truth. Optimal human socialization involves a child understanding the proper working relationship between a man and a woman, a father and a mother and a husband and wife. When the state creates permanent family relationships they must use the standard that is used in all of family law matters. The standard is what is in the best interest of children. This is the common law standard but this is the question that Judge Lederman did not ask. Instead she focused on the question of whether the homosexual foster parents would “harm the children.” Arguably, Foster homes and orphanages do not “harm children” but these are clearly not the best arrangements. Two moms or two dads, are an objectively inferior choice when compared to the option of a married mom and dad.
What about all the Foster Children “Languishing” in the System?
This question reveals a major public misconception. While the need for qualified foster parents in Florida is great, the same is not true for parents willing to adopt. In fact, the demand for children to be adopted nationwide is enormous and it far outweighs the number of children available for adoption. Tens of thousands of parents even go to foreign countries to adopt because of all the red tape that exists in adoption laws here in the United States! Children of any age, sex, race or national origin could be adopted. I am told that there are even quiet waiting lists to adopt children with Down syndrome. The children that are very difficult to adopt are those with severe deformities serious medical issues and older children with behavior problems.
What Does the Social Science Research Show About What is Best for Children?
While Judge Lederman reviewed some disputed and limited research on whether children raised by gays would be “harmed,” she completely neglected to review the vast body of undisputed social science studies which clearly demonstrate “what is best for children” And there are not just a handful of studies or even hundreds — but there are thousands of peer reviewed studies which appear in respected refereed journals over the past 40 years which clearly demonstrate that children flourish better in every category when raised by a married mother and father. The inverse is also true. When you remove either a father or a mother (especially a father) all the social problems are greater. The rates of suicide, depression, academic failure, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, pre-mature sexual experiences and incarceration are all consistently higher when either a mother or a father is absent. Despite what opponents would have you believe there are no national widespread long term studies on homosexual parenting. There are only small studies of limited sampling and often done by bias researchers. So the real affects on children remains an unknown, untested social experiment. What is best for kids should be based upon good research and sound public policy, not what an activist judge subjectively thinks is best.
Why Does Florida allow Homosexuals to Foster But Not Adopt?
Recently, editorial writers and pundits have called Florida’s law “hypocritical” because it allows practicing homosexual couples to become foster parents but not adoptive parents. The truth is that the law is not hypocritical but inconsistent. Based upon the best interest standard the law probably ought to also prohibit gay foster care, but it does not. The two arrangements are different however in that foster care is intended to be a temporary arrangement and adoption is a permanent placement by the state. But until Florida’s married couples start stepping forward in greater numbers to becoming foster care parents then there is still a great need for more foster homes which a small number of gay-identified men and women fill. However, based upon the research, these arrangements are still not in the child’s best interest.
Why Didn’t DCF Put the Children In This Case Up For Adoption?
The two children who were brothers in the case could have easily been adopted by a family with a mom and a dad. After their parents rights were terminated, they should have been immediately placed up for an adoption with a mother and a father. But the Department of Children and Families (DCF) did not do that. Instead, they allowed these homosexual foster parents to continue to retain custody of the children for many years. In fact, even though there is no written policy and DCF officials deny it, this happens on a regular basis. If there is a child in a homosexual foster home and the child’s natural parents’ rights are terminated, then the child is often inappropriately labeled “ineligible for adoption” and they continue on in the gay foster home until they become an adult. By doing this, DCF does a slick end run around Florida’s law by turning what should have been a temporary foster care situation into a permanent homosexual pseudo-adoption. This is entirely improper and subverts the plain intent of the existing law by doing what is best for “gay-identified” adults instead of what is best for children.
What is the Future of this Case?
While the foster parents in the Gill case were improperly allowed to adopt the two brothers, the case has been appealed by the Attorney General, whose role it is to argue for, uphold and enforce the existing law. This case will now be argued in front of a panel of appellate judges in the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Miami on August 26, 2009. It is hard to say how the Court of Appeals will rule because we do not know which of the eleven judges will be randomly picked to hear and decide the case. If the appellate court follows the law, then it should reverse and overrule the lower court’s decision.
Will this case go to the Florida Supreme Court?
While the adoption in this case was allowed to be finalized, the law banning gay adoptions is still in effect until the case is finally decided on appeal. If the district court also engages in judicial activism and affirms the lower court’s decision, then the case will be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. Governor Crist has placed four new judges on the court – two conservative and two liberal. As a result, the court has remained ideologically unbalanced with a 5-2 majority liberal position.
What Can I do to take Action?
- Wait for Judge Lederman to come up for re-election and if she has an opponent who is better then her, hold her accountable publicly at the ballot box.
- Follow our exclusive commentary on Twitter HERE:
- Thank Florida’s Attorney General Bill McCollum for fighting to uphold the law by sending him an email HERE:
- Prayerfully consider becoming a foster parent. For more info click HERE:
- Make sure you are a fully registered user with our e-mail system HERE. Many people receive the email but are not fully registered in the system.
- Make a gift to the FFPC to help us continue the fight for traditional values and oppose the gay agenda HERE: