MIAMI, January 29, 2004 ( – The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld the Florida law that bans homosexuals from adopting children. The three-judge panel affirmed a U.S. district judge’s 2001 ruling in favour of Florida’s 1977 law. Florida is the only state that prohibits homosexual adoption.

In the court’s unanimous decision, Judge Stanley Birch argued that the court is not in a position to overrule the state Legislature, writing that “‘We exercise great caution when asked to take sides in an ongoing public policy debate. Any argument that the Florida Legislature was misguided in its decision is one of legislative policy, not constitutional law,” he wrote. 

U.S. President George W. Bush, in a news release, said that “I am pleased by the ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today. The decision validates Florida’s conclusion that it is in the best interest of adopted children, many of whom come from troubled and unstable backgrounds, to be placed in a home anchored both by a father and a mother,” he said. 

In a press release today, Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James C. Dobson applauded the decision of the Florida court.

Dobson said that “We are pleased that all three judges on this panel have ruled in favour of children. This decision confirms what we have known for decades – that children need a mother and a father. The importance of both mothers and fathers in the healthy development of children cannot be overstated.”

He continued, “Forty years of social science research confirms what has been understood throughout human history—children fare better physically, emotionally and academically when raised by their two biological parents. And to intentionally deny children the possibility of being raised by a mother and a father is cruel.” 

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with an earlier federal ruling that threw out a lawsuit filed by four gay men who said the ban violated their constitutional rights because they were not allowed to adopt. 

With files from the Miami Herald.


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