Undercurrents

Watch for a compelling court case to emerge within weeks that could shake up sexual-preference politics in Florida and possibly restore important civil rights to gays and lesbians.

Attorney Karen Coolman Amlong will make another run at overturning a law that bans homosexuals from adopting in this state. The law in effect brands all homosexuals as unfit parents, and the Department of Children and Families denies their applications for adoption because of it. Amlong and the ACLU lost in their last bid in 1997 to overturn the statute in state court but will file this new challenge in federal court.

This time Amlong has an excellent plaintiff in a male nurse who was named Foster Parent of the Year by guess who... the Department of Children and Families. The man, named Lofgren, is a male nurse in Miami as is his partner, and both men are white. They are currently caring for two 11-year-old black foster children who are HIV positive. Foster care by gays is legal. Both men now want to adopt a seven-year-old boy but can't because the agency that praises Lofgren for the foster care won't allow an adoption by an openly gay male.

Sexual preference is the sole criterion for the blanket denial; a heterosexual person with a history of both spousal and drug abuse would be able to apply. And with the horror stories coming out regarding Florida's dreadful child welfare system, maybe adoptive parents who are gay deserve a chance to take deserving children away from the failing agency.

You've got to hand it to the blustering Greek.
State and local authorities raided three SunCruz casino ships last Tuesday, confiscated most of the gambling equipment, and filed a civil suit that charged SunCruz with illegal gambling. But a day later, two of the three boats were up and running again.

But that's the SunCruz way. For more than a year now, the casino line and its owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis have been the focus of investigations, lawsuits, and formal complaints. With each new allegation, Boulis does the legal equivalent of betting double or nothing. As New Times reported in April, the gambling Greek infuriates local governments and residents by simply denying all charges and going about his business. Somehow, it seems, he always comes up with an ace in the hole.

This time, however, it appears the state is holding the trump card. Investigators allege that they witnessed more than two dozen violations of state law since the investigation began in April. New Times reported in August that the SunCruz VI, which is docked in Hollywood, illegally began its nightly poker tournament while still in the Intracoastal.

With such strong evidence against Boulis -- the former chief executive of the Miami Subs fast-food chain -- we'd like to offer him these immortal words of gambling wisdom from the head of another fast-food chain: "You've got to know when to hold 'em/Know when to fold 'em/Know when to walk away/Know when to run."

Of course Boulis might do better to put on his poker face and hope for the best in the courtroom. With a winning streak that would be the envy of any Vegas card player, we give Boulis ten to one that he blusters his way to a win.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbpb.com.

 
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