Ceremony Finalizes Adoption Process for Family That Challenged Florida’s Gay Adoption Ban

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Robyn Shepherd, ACLU National, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org
ACLU of Florida, (786) 363-2737 or media@aclufl.org

Ceremony Finalizes Adoption Process for Family That Challenged Florida’s Gay Adoption Ban

MIAMI - After
a successful fight to overturn Florida's ban on gay adoption, the two
young brothers adopted by Martin Gill participated in an adoption
ceremony in Judge Cindy Lederman's chambers in Miami-Dade County
Juvenile Court today, marking the final step in their adoption process.
Gill and his partner had served as foster parents to the two brothers
for six years. Gill worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to
fight for the right to adopt them by challenging Florida's 33-year-old
ban on gay people adopting. As a result of the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of
Gill, the ban was ended last year.

"We are thrilled
that after so many years, we are officially a family in the eyes of the
law," said Gill. "All children deserve a permanent, loving home. This is
a happy day."

In November 2008,
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Lederman held that the statute barring
adoption by gay people is unconstitutional and granted Gill's petition
to adopt brothers. Last year, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld
that decision after the state appealed.

"Martin and his
family were instrumental in ending one of the most discriminatory laws
in the country," said Leslie Cooper, staff attorney with the ACLU
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Hopefully now,
thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will be
able to know the love and support of having a family."

"We are delighted
for the Gill family, and thankful to Judge Lederman for seeing that
justice was done for Florida's children," said Howard Simon, Executive
Director of the ACLU of Florida. "The welfare of the children of Florida
and their need to be part of a permanent family had been held hostage
to anti-gay politics for far too long. We wish Martin and his family all
of the best, and we are thankful that the two brothers he has so
lovingly cared for will have a permanent home and be part of a forever
family."

For more information on Martin Gill's case, please visit: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/re-gill-case-profile

Photos from today's ceremony available upon request.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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