Will Florida Continue to Allow Adoption by Same-Sex Couples?

​​This week, Gov. Rick Scott stirred uncertainty as to whether the recently overturned ban on gay adoption will last. Florida was the only state to ban gay adoption until September, when a three-judge panel in the Third District Court of Appeal in West Miami-Dade ruled that there is no "rational basis" for excluding same-sex couples.  

This week's cover story features a gay couple who turned to surrogacy in Panama, faced with few options to start a family in Florida.

Scott said he does not yet have a policy on gay adoption, but he has made his beliefs clear. "I believe that adoption should be by a married

couple,'' Scott said at the annual Associated Press planning session in Tallahassee, according to the Associated Press. At the same session, Scott also said, "First off, I'm the governor... so whatever my position would be would be the position that would be enforced," according to the Palm Beach Post.

In recent months, Scott has said that he won't appeal the decision allowing gay adoption, but his statements this week along with his appointment of David Wilkins to lead the Department of Children and Families have cast doubt on his stance. The Miami Herald announced Wilkins' appointment with the headline, New DCF chief's résumé mirrors Gov. Rick Scott's. And it's true -- Wilkins is a social conservative with a big business background. Previously, Wilkins served as finance chairman for Florida Baptists Children's Homes, which provides adoption services with religious stipulations, according to the organization's website, which says, "in order to adopt through the Florida Baptist Children's Homes we require that you be a professing Christian, be active in a local Christian church, and follow a lifestyle that is consistent with the Christian faith.'' 

"Wilkins and Scott could challenge the Miami ruling by refusing to allow a gay man or woman to adopt elsewhere in the state -- which could trigger an appeal to the state's highest court," the Miami Herald reported.  

The same day Scott remarked that adoption should be by married couples, Martin Gill, the North Miami man whose case prompted the ban's overturning, was officially declared the father of the two children he has raised since 2004. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which backed Gill's case, organized a February 5 meeting in Orlando to plot a strategy to protect the ruling allowing gays to adopt.

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Leslie Minora