Gay men living in Florida will have the opportunity to become adoptive fathers, following the overturning of a 31-year-old law on Tuesday.
Judge Cindy S. Lederman ruled that evidence has shown that "sexual orientation is not a predictor" of the quality of a person’s parenting skills and that including homosexual men and women in the adoption system would preserve "the best interests of children."
Previous to the decision, Florida was the only state that specifically prohibited all gay adoptions. Other states – such as Arkansas and Utah – have measures in place that ban unmarried couples from adopting.
Now, as a result of Lederman’s decision, foster father Frank Martin Gill and his partner will be able to adopt 4-year-old and 8-year-old brothers that have been in his care since 2004.
"We’re very grateful. Today, I’ve cried the first tears of joy in my life," Gill told reporters.
The ruling comes during National Adoption Month, which this year is focused on finding parents for 129,000 children who are in temporary foster homes.
It is expected that the Florida decision will be appealed and will reach the state’s Supreme Court.