11/25/08

Florida, Banning Gays From Being Foster Parents Is Unconstitutional


I used to live in Florida. I lived in Fort Walton Beach (near Destin). I was married and a foster mom to lots and lots of babies and toddlers. Each one as precious as the last and all from a variety of problematic homes. Some were born with drugs in their system. Some were born in jail or to a mother who had previously lost other children due to abuse or neglect. One was a product of a worker raping her mentally retarded mother in an institution. The one thing that was the same: there were lots of them and the steady stream of children needing care only grew.

There was never a week that went by where I didn't get a phone call from a social worker begging me to take on another. This despite the fact that I was only licensed for 1 child at a time. But sometimes, I might have 3 of them along with my own 2 children.

Why would the state have such a problem? Because of their backwards policy of banning homosexuals from being foster parents. Yes, if you are gay, you can't be a foster parent in Florida (as well as some other states).

Well, poo on you, Florida. Because I was gay (albeit married to a dude at the time) and I made a kick ass foster parent. I didn't even complain at the .50 per hour that you paid for the child's food, clothing, toys, blankets, and other necessities. I didn't complain when I had a new caseworker each week. I didn't complain when you gave me 30 minutes notice about a court hearing. I didn't complain getting up at 2, 4 and 6 am for newborn feedings. I didn't complain when I had to drive a baby over an hour to Pensacola to see his parents because my male social worker was scared of the father.

I was a shining beacon among foster mothers and I was gay. And so are a lot of other foster parents who have proven that being gay has nothing to do with your ability to love, nurture and care for children. I even have a theory that gays might be better at it because we know what it's like to live in a world full of strife, rejection and drama.

But - the times, they are a changin'. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman declared today that Florida's 50-year-old ban on gay adoptions is quite unconstitutional - a ruling state lawyers immediately said they would challenge.

In a 53-page ruling, Judge Lederman said, "It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent.''

Duh.

It's about time Florida started putting the kids first.

8 comments:

Becky C. said...

Good for the judge--I hope it holds up in court--and I really think they will have a real hard time backing up factually any other conclusion--jut pull out some of the crapy "studies" of focus on the family.

Florida is so backwards--this is one of the very few states that has this restriction--and it is just absurd. Even Bill O'Reilly has said as much.

~Becky

Ruby Red said...

This case has a little bit higher visibility than most, the State of Florida actually went into Rosie O'Donnell's house and took one of her adopted kids away from her because she was a lesbian.

That Kid Over There said...

Great for that judge, I hope she manages to get things moving in that [redneck] state. It's about time people start speaking up against these ridiculous laws. "Think about the children" these people always say. Well, THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN, DAMMIT!! Lol.

I'm sure you were an amazing foster mom, I really admire those who foster children.

Btw, when is the next Lesbian Apologetic lesson coming up? :P I miss them!

Jul said...

Kids need parents, and research has confirmed again and again that gay/lesbian parents raise children just as well as their heterosexual counterparts.

usually, the question is - are they going to follow the research, or are they going to follow those whack-jobs.

surprisingly, it's always a toss up.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your story and thanks for being a foster mom. im really moved right now from reading your words.

Tasha said...

What an honest and down to earth post. Much respect. It makes me realise how easy we have it in the UK!

IronKnee said...

Your post is very good, but I'm afraid you got a key fact wrong. The ruling declared the ban on ADOPTIONS by gay people unconstitutional. Gays have always been able to be foster parents, at least recently. The guy who brought the suit wants to adopt two foster kids he and his partner have fostered for four years.

Sinnerviewer said...

I'm not sure of the most current laws, IronKnee. I applied for my FP license 4 years ago and it was explained in my first orientation class in Pensacola that GLBT need not apply. They also said that anyone who had not been in their current relationship for at least 12 months should not apply and if you were single, you were strongly discouraged from dating while you had a child in foster care. I will check into the current laws and do a follow up when I have time. Thanks!

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