The Florida Department of Children and Families announced they won't appeal the September ruling by an appeals court that declared the state's law banning adoption by gay unconstitutional.
In a statement Tuesday, DCF said it wouldn't fight the decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami involving Martin Gill and his long-time partner's adoption of two brothers.
"We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties," read the DCF statement. "But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion - and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision - has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome."
Gill and his partner, who live in North Miami, have been foster parents to the brothers since 2004. The two have been fighting the 1977 state law that banned gay adoption for years before a Miami-Dade County judge's 2008 ruling that the ban was unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel upheld that decision in September, noting that gay people are permitted to become foster parents or legal guardians in Florida, yet are the only group not allowed to adopt.
"It is difficult to see any rational basis in utilizing homosexual persons as foster parents or guardians on a temporary or permanent basis, while imposing a blanket prohibition on those same persons," wrote Judge Gerald Cope for the panel. "All other persons are eligible to be considered case-by-case to be adoptive parents."
Now DCF said it has created new adoption application forms that omit the question about sexual orientation.
"It's so far beyond debate that gay people do no harm to children and that gay people can make good parents," said Gill. "I'm thrilled, I'm really thrilled that I think after all this time I really feel that I have the support of the Departmenbt of Children and Families and that feels really good."
The fight isn't completely over yet. Florida's Attorney General Bill McCollum has to formally end the case and allow judges to decide adoptions on a case-by-case basis.