Child Welfare

OVERTURNED: Florida Court Declares Out-of-State Gay Adoptions Legal


Adoptions by gays and lesbians is prohibited in Florida, the only state that explicitly targets homos (other states ban gay adoption by limited it to married couples). But what about same-sex couples who adopt children in other states, then move to Florida — are those legal adoptions no longer recognized? As of today’s ruling, they will be.

NCLR: “Today, the Florida Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower court ruling and held that Florida must give full faith and credit to adoptions granted to same-sex couples by other states, holding that Lara Embry, the plaintiff in the case, ‘must be given the same rights as any other adoptive parent in Florida.’ The court based its decision on the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the federal constitution and a Florida statute requiring Florida to honor adoption decrees from other states. Noting that ‘there are no public policy exceptions to the full faith and credit which is due to judgments entered in another state,’ the court concluded that ‘regardless of whether the trial court believed that the Washington adoption violated a clearly established public policy in Florida, it was improper for the trial court to refuse to give the Washington judgment full faith and credit.’ A concurring opinion further noted that Embry’s ‘same-sex relationship with [the other parent] is irrelevant for the purpose of enforcing her rights and obligations as an adoptive parent.’”

So how’d we even get here? “The case arose when Lara Embry filed a petition seeking shared custody of a child she had raised with her former partner, Kimberly Ryan. The couple had two children together. Each gave birth to one child, and each adopted her non-biological child through a second-parent adoption in the state of Washington, where the family lived. The couple moved to Florida, and their relationship ended several years later. They agreed to share custody of both children and did so successfully until Ryan unilaterally decided to separate the children, who are deeply bonded as siblings, and cut off all contact between Embry and one of the children.”

Meanwhile, another court case is working its way through the system that addresses Florida’s in-state adoption ban — which has more hope of yielding a favorable outcome than the bills snaking through the legislature right now — and many expect it to make its way to the Florida Supreme Court.

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  • AlanInSLC

    Praise the lord!

  • atdleft

    So no more breaking families apart in Florida? I hope so.

  • kevin (not that one)

    I use to live in Florida.

    Florida has a large LGBT community.

    Knowing this, I still cannot understand why Florida consistently votes against LGBT rights. Do not the LGBTs in FL exert enough political pressure to make a difference?

    What about all of the lesbians and gays in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Key West? What the hell are they doing?

  • Dabq

    Now this is GREAT news! These kids can now get the love and homes they deserve without the screwball right wingers in the mix!!

  • Michael

    So I just looked at the new “redesigned” Queerty to see if it has improved since its disastrous unveiling. Sad to say, it looks worse than ever! I will definitely continue to use the classic version.

  • Alec

    This wasn’t even a close case. Courts in VA, OK and MI have reached the same conclusion.

  • Steve

    @kevin (not that one):
    The votes don’t actually matter. They aren’t counted in Florida.

    We have had electronic election machinery in Florida for ten years. In this last election, they used paper ballots, but the ballot-counting was electronic, and *NO* manual audits or recounts were conducted. In Florida, after a ballot has been scanned and “counted” electronically, it is illegal to count it again by any other means. The only “recounts” are done by re-totalling the “counts” that come out of the electronic scanners. We *KNOW* that the electronic scanners are rigged. That has been proved beyond any doubt. But the law still says that the electronic scanners must be used, and that their counts cannot be verified (or refuted) manually.

    Of course, there are also a fair number of bigots who live here. So they only have to flip ten percent or so of the votes to make it look legitimate.

  • johnvisser

    @kevin (not that one):
    I would venture to say that because Florida is a retirement haven for old folks and that because old folks have deep seated prejudices against gay and lesbians, that these old folks are enough of a voting block to keep LGBT rights from materializing.

  • Joe in Atlanta

    A Florida appeals court recognizing the Full Faith and Credit Clause seems to pose…an interesting slippery slope? What precedent does this set when someone sues to have their marriage legally performed in another state recognized by Florida? Any Florida legal expert reader care to comment?

  • Chuck


    agreed. We need to enlist Sarah Silverman to make the “Great Schlep” a yearly thing around voting time.

    That would help our community as well as her career.

  • Jeve

    Hallelujah! Such great news! Feeling the momentum!

  • Mark

    To this very minute I can’t imagine why anyone would willingly live or retire in FL.

  • Konrad

    does this open the door to a Florida couple adopting a child in Georgia and returning to the state?

  • NewYorkness

    @kevin (not that one): I lived in South Florida where there is a considerable amount of gays (and seniors); however, north Florida, I would assume, is not as diverse and is more conservative, young and old.

  • CJ

    @Joe in Atlanta:

    Joe – DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) prevents states from having to abide by the Full Faith and Credit clause when it comes to same-sex marriages in other states. It also prevents the federal government from having to recognize the marriages. Once this act is overturned (and hopefully it will be), a marriage performed in any state would have to be recognized by the receiving state.

  • michael

    I hope the Floridian right wingnuts don’t propose some sort of constitutional amendment to “fix” this decision. But I am bracing myself for it. Florida is one sad excuse for paradise.

  • Corinne

    We are not sitting on our duffs if thats what you are trying to imply…unfortunatley Florida is comprised of more than just our urban areas…

  • Jhon

    Lots of gay-hating Hispanics in Florida and seniors who are ready to drop.

Comments are closed.