Finally, one of the worst vestiges of orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant's 1977 campaign against gays and lesbians has been dispatched — although not quite permanently. Florida's law barring homosexuals from adopting children is no longer enforceable. But because the statute's constitutionality was not decided by the Florida Supreme Court, there is a chance of another legal battle.
Attorney General Bill McCollum's decision not to appeal last month's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruling striking down the gay adoption statute as unconstitutional means the ban is lifted statewide. For prospective adoptive parents, that means their sexual orientation will no longer be taken into account when child welfare workers determine a home's suitability for an adoption.
Two court decisions found that the evidence unequivocally demonstrates gay parents are just as likely to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children as heterosexual parents. The courts granted Martin Gill the right to adopt two foster children he and his partner have parented for years.
McCollum announced last week he would not appeal but that "no doubt someday" another case will give the Supreme Court "the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this law." That is a dangerous possibility, particularly if Republican Rick Scott is elected governor. He supports the ban while Democrat Alex Sink opposes it. The state's goal should be to find more permanent, loving homes for foster children — not legalize bigotry.