Despite Florida gay ban, Miami judge OKs adoption of foster child by lesbian

From the Miami Herald:

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BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER, [email protected]

With the blessing of her large extended family, Vanessa Alenier took custody of an infant relative who had been seized by child welfare workers. She moved him into a yellow nursery with a blonde wood crib, a blue-striped carpet and a mobile. When she asked the state to for permission to adopt him, the application included a simple question.

Are you gay?

Alenier, 34, said she did not want to begin her journey as a parent with a lie. So she told the truth -- despite Florida's 33-year-old law banning gay men and lesbians from adopting.

Earlier this month -- as a Miami appeals court determines the constitutionality of the embattled adoption ban -- a Miami judge quietly approved the now-1-year-old's adoption. The decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia is the third finalized adoption by a gay couple within the last year.

Sampedro-Iglesia's ruling, while the 1977 law remains in limbo, suggests some state court judges already have made up their minds about gay adoption, a thorny political issue in a state with a significant social conservative streak.

"There is no rational connection between sexual orientation and what is or is not in the best interest of a child," Sampedro-Iglesia wrote in her order, obtained by The Miami Herald. "The child is happy and thriving with [Alenier]. The only way to give this child to allow him to be adopted'' by her.

In her ruling, Sampedro-Iglesia declared Florida's adoption law "unconstitutional on its face."

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