Gay Parents Harmful to Children's Mental Health? Not So Says Florida
(CBS/AP) Gays can adopt in Florida now.
The Sunshine State will stop enforcing its ban on adoptions by gays, now that a state appeals court has struck down the law.
Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF) had argued that the mental health of a child who gets adopted by a gay person is at risk because a.) gays are not very good role models and b.) because they may face discrimination.
DCF had urged judges to consider evidence of what it said were risk factors among potential gay parents, including more sexual activity by children of gay parents and more incidents of teasing and bullying suffered by children from gay households.
The appeals court didn't buy it, and the judges ruled that the state's "experts' opinions were not valid from a scientific point of view."
CBS News recently reported that children raised by same-sex, female couples grow up to be psychologically well-adjusted, experience academic achievement and exhibit healthy social behaviors - this according to The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which appeared in the medical journal Pediatrics. It was the first to follow children of lesbian couples all the way from conception to adolescence.
Besides the science leaning in favor of gay parents, another thing didn't make sense to the three-judge panel in Florida: While gay people were permitted to become foster parents or legal guardians, they were the only group not allowed to adopt.
The prohibition on gays adopting was first enacted in 1977 and is the only law of its kind in the nation. Arkansas and Utah ban any unmarried straight or gay couples from adopting or fostering children. Mississippi bans gay couples, but not single gays from adopting.
Not everyone is pleased with the court's decision.
Matthew Staver, an attorney with Virginia-based Liberty Counsel, which supports the ban, said adoption is a privilege, not a right under Florida law. "Common sense and human history underscore the fact that children need a mother and a father," Staver said in a statement.
Not in Florida.
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