May 14, 2009

Court of Appeals Ruling Creates Bizarre Triangle with a Young Child Caught in the Middle

Lakeland, FL – Yesterday, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals issued a ruling that gives parental rights to Lara Embry, a lesbian who adopted a child in Washington with her former partner, Kimberly Ryan. Ryan, the biological mother of the nine-year-old child, has left the homosexual lifestyle and is engaged to be married to a man. Liberty Counsel now represents Ryan in the case of Embry v. Ryan and plans to file an appeal at the Florida Supreme Court.

Embry and Ryan were formerly residents of the state of Washington, where they registered as domestic partners with the city of Seattle. Ryan conceived via artificial insemination and gave birth to her daughter in 2000. Embry was listed as the child’s second parent. Embry and Ryan moved to Florida in 2002 and dissolved their relationship in 2004. Embry and Ryan informally engaged in a rotating custody and visitation arrangement for approximately two years.

In October 2007 Ryan notified Embry that she was concerned about her daughter’s well-being and would no longer be participating in a rotating custody and visitation arrangement. Embry sought to obtain parental rights over Ryan’s biological child by filing in Florida a Petition for Declaratory Relief and a Petition to Determine Parental Responsibility, Contact and Support and Other Relief.

The trial court determined that neither the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution nor Florida precedent required that Florida courts grant parental rights to a former same-sex partner, in violation of Florida law, on the basis that a Washington court had issued an adoption decree listing Embry as the second parent of Ryan’s daughter. The Court of Appeals has now reversed that ruling. The Florida Supreme Court will now be asked to review the case and reverse the ruling.

The Florida law that bans homosexuals from adopting is backed up by sound reasons to prefer that children be permanently adopted by homes that will provide the opportunity for a mom and a dad. Homosexual adoption, by its very nature, deprives children of ever having the opportunity of being reared by both a mother and a father. A homosexual home automatically excludes one gender, either the mom or the dad. Most states ban homosexual adoption through legislation, regulation, or court precedent. Only a handful of states actually permit homosexual adoption.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Children need moms and dads. Placing children in same-sex households deprives children of having both a mom and a dad. The people of Florida reaffirmed the importance of dual-gender families by amending the state constitution to protect the traditional definition of marriage. The insanity of this court ruling creates a bizarre triangle, with the child caught between two ‘moms’ and one dad.” 


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