Miami court decision may affect a law barring gays from adopting

Florida is the only state that outright prohibits gays and lesbians from adopting.

Now, those who support and oppose gay adoption are awaiting a decision in a Miami court case they think could provide ammunition to overturn the state law.

The case involves Frank Martin Gill and his unidentified male partner. In 2004, the state encouraged the couple to provide a foster home for two boys. Gill hopes to become their adopted father.

“There’s no clear reason why [Gill can’t adopt] except he’s gay,” said Naomi Parker, a Wilton Manors diversity consultant and a lesbian who went out of state to adopt her now-16-year-old daughter. “It’s a human rights issue, not a gay rights issue. There are responsible, willing and able gay parents. It’s a shame children are being denied a home.”

The Miami court challenge is only the latest case involving gay foster parents trying to provide permanent homes for children. In 2001, a federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld the state law banning gay adoption when Steven Lofton, a retired pediatric nurse, sought to adopt a 10-year-old boy in his care. With other foster children in their care, Lofton and his partner Roger Croteau received the first Outstanding Foster Parenting Award from Florida’s Children’s Home Society.