Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics that it believes gay men and
lesbians should be allowed to adopt children heated up the debate over
the issue in Florida, which has the strictest law against gay adoptions
in the country.
law has been upheld by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King and that
decision has been appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court in Atlanta. The
law bans all gay and lesbian adoptions, while similar laws in Mississippi
and Utah do not apply to individuals, just to couples.
policy was released Monday in the organization's journal, Pediatrics.
"There is a
considerable body of literature that children with parents who are homosexual
have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment
and development as children whose parents are heterosexual," the policy
nice when organizations and groups that ought to know wake up," said Elizabeth
Schwartz, a Miami attorney who is a member of the legal team working on
"Gays have been
parenting for generations. Now we're coming out, and we're going to do
it whether the Christian right wants us to do it or not," she said.
She said she
was confident homosexual adoption forces would prevail in Florida whether
it's in Legislature or in the courts, but it might take a while.
"It's just a
matter of time. It's already a reality,” she said. “We're going to parent."
president of the Family Research Council in Washington, said the policy
ignores current research into the matter.
"We lament the
academy's decision and are disappointed that it opted for political correctness
over scientific research," said Connor, a former Florida resident who ran
for governor of the state in 1994.
He said research
has shown that when children have homosexual parents, there is a greater
incidence of suicide, depression and domestic violence. He said there is
a shorter life expectancy for the parents who frequently do not outlive
"I think Judge
King was right when he said Florida had rational objections to gay adoption,"
The suit was
brought by three gay couples who are either foster parents or guardians
-- Wayne Smith, Steve Lofton and Doug Houton. They are seeking full parental
rights as well as more security for the children involved.
that the judge noted there are 3,500 children in Florida awaiting adoption.
"I know of one
gay couple who would take two of them right now," said Smith, who lives
in Key West, Fla. "When the state has an irrational, scientifically unsupportable
law that prevents children from being adopted by perfectly loving, capable
parents, the state is then guilty of abusing, abandoning and neglecting
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