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ACLU and Martin Gill Speak Out About Future of Florida Adoption Ban Decision
MIAMI - September 23 - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida today issued the following joint statement with Martin Gill, the plaintiff who is at the center of the ACLU's lawsuit to allow gays and lesbians to adopt children in Florida.
The following can be attributed to Martin Gill, ACLU plaintiff:
"I understand that the Governor would like to hear my views in considering whether to appeal the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal striking down the ban on adoption by lesbians and gay men. After considerable thought and consultation with my attorneys at the ACLU, it is my hope that the State will not appeal and the case will stop here.
"The ban has kept me from adopting the two boys who have known me as Papi for the past six years. This deprives them of the emotional security of knowing they are part of a forever family.
"The law is also an obstacle to adoption for countless other Florida children who have no family of their own.
"I understand that if the State does not appeal this decision, it will apply to all Floridians and put an end to this baseless law that has harmed my kids and so many other children and families.
"I am eager to adopt my two children and to remove this barrier to adoption for other children as soon as possible. Ending this case now would be the quickest way for that to happen."
The following can be attributed to Howard Simon, ACLU of Florida Executive Director:
"It has been reported that the Governor would like to speak with our client, Martin Gill, before making a decision about whether to appeal the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal striking down the ban on adoption by lesbians and gay men. Martin welcomes the opportunity and would like to tell the Governor that it is his hope that his case will end here.
"If there is no appeal, Martin's dream of adopting his two children and removing this obstacle to permanency for other Florida children will be realized immediately. An appeal to the Florida Supreme Court would mean waiting at least another year for this issue to be resolved. This is a long time in the life of a young child.
"The ACLU has been fighting this law for many years - in the Legislature and the courts. We have been committed to eliminating this discriminatory ban because, without any basis, it brands gay people unfit to raise children and turns away good parents, making it harder for the thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted to get a chance to become part of a family."
The following can be attributed to Leslie Cooper, senior attorney with the national ACLU's LGBT Project:
"The Third District Court of Appeal, in a powerful unanimous decision, has declared the statute unconstitutional because it serves no child welfare purpose. Until the Governor's statements yesterday, it seemed certain that the Florida Supreme Court would be the final arbiter. But, we hope that will not be the case. The Department of Children and Families has stated that they would like clarity from the courts on this issue. Yesterday, the Third District Court of Appeal gave the State that clarity.
"If the State chooses not to appeal, the appellate court decision will be binding on trial courts statewide and will allow lesbians and gay men who are interested in adopting-- no matter where they live in the State-to apply and be evaluated under the same criteria applied to everyone else. This is precisely what our litigation has sought to achieve.
"If the State chooses not to appeal, justice will have been served. We are hopeful that the case will end here and bring closure for Martin's family and thousands of similarly situated Floridians. It's time to end the legal limbo.
"If, however, the State chooses to appeal Martin's case, we're confident that the Florida Supreme Court will reach the same result as the Third District Court of Appeal."
About the ACLU of Florida's LGBT Advocacy Project
The ACLU of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org.
The ACLU of Florida's LGBT Advocacy Project has worked since 2005 to protect the legal rights of Florida's LGBT community and is the leading organization protecting gay kids from discrimination and harassment. For additional information on the Gill lawsuit, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org/gill
About the ACLU's national LGBT Project
The LGBT Project fights discrimination and moves public opinion through the courts, legislatures and public education across five issue areas: Relationships, Youth & Schools, Parenting, Gender Identity and Expression and Discrimination in Employment, Housing and other areas.