Florida Won’t Appeal Ruling That Found Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional

By Carlos Santoscoy – On Top Magazine
Published: October 13, 2010
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced Tuesday evening that it would not appeal a court ruling that found the state’s gay adoption ban unconstitutional, CNN reported.

Last month, a 3-judge appeals court unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling that found the law to be unconstitutional and to have “no rational basis.”

“We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” DCF spokesman Joe Follick told CNN. “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.”

Attorney General Bill McCollum has yet to announce whether his department will appeal the ruling.

The decision means that Frank Martin Gill, the plaintiff being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), can legally adopt the two half brothers he and his partner have raised since 2004.

“We are happy to hear that DCF wants to bring this case to an end and allow the Gill family to get on with their lives,” Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement.

“What is needed now is a similar statement from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum that will formally end this case and allow judges to decide – on a case-by-case basis – what is in the best interests of children.”

“Ending this case here will mean that gay people throughout the State of Florida can apply to adopt and will be treated like everyone else,” Simon added. “This means that more children will have the opportunity to have a permanent home with a loving family.”

Florida enacted the ban 17 years ago. It is the only state with an outright ban. Other states have enacted laws that limit gay couples’ access to adoption. Such as Arkansas, which denies unmarried couples – in a state that bans gay marriage – the right to jointly adopt children.

An Intended Parent’s Surrogacy Story

Pioneer of In Vitro Fertilization Wins Nobel Prize

October 4, 2010
New York Times
By NICHOLAS WADE

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded this year to Robert G. Edwards, an English biologist who, with a physician colleague, Patrick Steptoe, developed the in vitro fertilization procedure for treating human infertility.

Since the birth of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, on July 25, 1978, some four million babies worldwide have been conceived by mixing eggs and sperm outside the body and returning the embryo to the womb to resume development. The procedure overcomes many previously untreatable causes of infertility.

Dr. Edwards, a physiologist who spent much of his career at Cambridge University in England, spent more than 20 years solving a series of problems in getting eggs and sperm to mature and successfully unite outside the body. His colleague, Dr. Steptoe, was a gynecologist and pioneer of laparoscopic surgery, the method used to extract eggs from the prospective mother.

Dr. Steptoe, who presumably would otherwise have shared the prize, died in 1988. Dr. Edwards, who born in 1925, has now retired as head of research from the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge, which he and Dr. Steptoe founded as the world’s first center for in vitro fertilization.

Though in vitro fertilization is now widely accepted, the birth of the first test tube baby was greeted with intense concern that the moral order was subverted by unnatural intervention in the mysterious process of creating a human being. Dr. Edwards was well aware of the ethical issues raised by his research and took the lead in addressing them.

The objections gradually died away, except on the part of the Roman Catholic Church, as it became clear that the babies born by in vitro fertilization were healthy and that their parents were overjoyed to be able to start a family. Long-term follow-ups have confirmed the essential safety of the technique.

The deliberations of the prize-giving committee at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden are confidential, and it is unclear why it took so long to acknowledge Dr. Edwards’s achievement. The committee routinely ignores the stipulation in Alfred Nobel’s will that the prize should be awarded for a discovery made the preceding year, because it takes longer than that to evaluate most scientific claims, but delays of 30 years or more are unusual. The Lasker Foundation in New York, whose jurors often anticipate the Nobel Prize committee, awarded Dr. Edwards its prize in 2001.

Dr. Edwards’s research proved too controversial for the Medical Research Council, a government financng agency that is the British equivalent of the National Institutes of Health. In 1971 the council rejected an application from Dr. Edwards and Dr. Steptoe to work on in vitro fertilization, but they were able to continue with private funds.

“In retrospect, it is amazing that Edwards not only was able to respond to the continued criticism of in vitro fertilization, but that he also remained so persistent and unperturbed in fulfilling his scientific vision,” Christer Höög, a member of the Nobel Prize committee, writes on the Nobel Foundation’s Web page.