On June 11, 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed the bill that will remove the language banning gay couples from adopting children from Florida law. Though a judge for the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled that the ban was unconstitutional and state officials stopped actively enforcing the ban in 2010, the language remained codified in Florida law. Florida was the only state in the U.S. to have such a ban and, though removing the language is largely a formality, gay rights advocacy groups celebrated the fact that the “lingering insult” of the decades-old law will be gone.
Another Threat to Gay Adoption Failed in 2015
Earlier this year, there was another bill on the table in Florida regarding same-sex couples adopting, though that proposed law would have threatened gay adoption rights, not preserved them. HB 7111 would have allowed private adoption companies to deny adoption for gay couples by citing “religious or moral convictions or policies” without risking losing their adoption agency license from the state. Though the bill was presented as a protection of religious freedom, opponents maintained that it was no more than a thinly veiled attack on the equal rights of same-sex couples.
HB 7111 passed overwhelmingly in the Florida House of Representatives though it could not get passed in the Senate to be sent to Gov. Scott’s desk. Gov. Scott, however, has been a vocal supporter of the bill and would most certainly sign it if it passed through the legislature. Gov. Scott has stated that he hopes the bill will be proposed again in upcoming legislative sessions but, for now, private adoption agencies cannot legally deny adoption to couples because they are gay.
Family Law Rights Improve for Same-Sex Couples in Florida
In addition to formally lifting the ban on gay adoption, same-sex couples also received the right to legally marry and get divorced in Florida this year. The extension of numerous family law rights to gay couples also means that more same-sex couples may be headed into the state family courts to resolve any family-related legal disputes. These cases should be handled in the same manner and in accordance with the same family laws as any case involving opposite-sex spouses or parents.
Call an Experienced Florida Family Law Attorney for Assistance Today
Families can face many different types of legal issues, including adoption, paternity, divorce, child custody, domestic violence, and more. Boca Raton family law lawyer Alan R. Burton understands that many of these issues can be costly and stressful and he strives to handle every case in the most efficient manner possible. Mr. Burton thoroughly understands the ever-changing Florida family laws and knows how to apply them to your case to achieve the most favorable result for you. If you are facing a family law matter in Florida, call for a free consultation at 954-229-1660 today.