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After the passage of Prop 8 and the ban on adoption by gays and lesbians in Arkansas, this is a welcomed victory:

A Miami judge has struck a blow against a Florida law banning adoptions of children by gay people.

Miami Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled Tuesday there was "no rational basis" for prohibiting gays from adopting children.

The ruling will allow 47-year-old Martin Gill to adopt two young brothers he has cared for as foster children since 2004.

Florida has one of the strictest bans on gay adoptions in the country. A judge in Key West ruled in September that the ban was unconstitutional, but that ruling has had limited legal impact.

This is not just a victory for the gays and lesbians. This is a victory for so many children in foster care. I know several gay couples who have taken in older foster children who need a loving home. Just recently, one of my sister's former gay colleagues and his husband took in two foster children, aged five and seven, whose parents could no longer take care of them. I have yet to hear the full story but I think their parents are drug addicts or simply incapacitated in some way.  My sister's friends have  arranged to make sure that these children maintain a relationship with their parents, who my mother said live in a "flop house" (again, I don't know the full story yet).

This couple lives in the town next to mine here in Connecticut and I will get to meet these two children on December 13th when they have their annual Christmas party. Last year at their party, I met at least two other couples who had adopted older foster children. Since the couple lives in a somewhat rural area, their neighbors are all straight, many Republicans. But the community embraced them. In fact, because they loved decorating their home with creative Christmas decorations and lights, the usually low key neighbors felt compelled to follow suit and decorate their own. And I found it funny to see these burly straight guys asking my friends about their interior decorating.

These two kids are lucky to have the chance to be raised by such loving people and have such neighbors. And thank God my wonderful state has made gay marriage legal with little to no controversy. This couple entered a civil union last year and I'm sure they will get married soon. This couple and their children deserve to have the security and dignity such an arrangement will provide.

Update [2008-11-25 13:56:45 by John Campanelli]: Here is a poll about this from the Miami Herald (It's winning big time!)

Here is further information about the ruling:

''This is the forum where we try to heal children, find permanent families for them so they can get another chance at what every child should know and feel from birth, and go on to lead productive lives,'' Lederman said in court before releasing the order. ``We pray for them to thrive, but that is a word we rarely hear in dependency court.''

''These children are thriving; it is uncontroverted,'' the judge added.

Unfortunately, right wing attorney general is appealing the ruling:

''We respect the court's decision,'' said attorney Valerie Martin, who had argued in support of the ban during a weeklong trial Oct. 1-6. But, she added: ``Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we have filed a notice of appeal this morning.''

The attorney general's office had argued that gay men and lesbians are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental illness or a substance abuse problem than straight people, rendering them less fit to parent -- especially children in foster care who already are under tremendous stress.

It's unbelievable the sweeping generalizations the attorney general's office will make about all gays and lesbians. Aren't all foster and adoptive parents supposed to be evaluated on an individual basis? If there are psychologically healthy and loving gays and lesbians who want to give these children stable homes, isn't that better than letting these children languish without families? It's pretty logical. And so many gays and lesbians are more willing to take more troubled children because they have empathy for those more marginalized.

Originally posted to John Campanelli on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:12 AM PST.

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