Nicole Sheppe

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Although there is not a published opinion addressing same-sex couple adoption in Georgia, it is currently a hot issue in many state courts and, most recently, in the Eleventh Circuit. On January 28, 2004, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals declined to extend the reasoning of Lawrence v. Texas to adoptions by homosexual couples. Specifically, in Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children & Family Services, the Eleventh Circuit upheld a Florida statute prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children.

The 1977 Florida statute at issue in Lofton is unique because it provides for an explicit ban on adoptions by homosexuals. The statute states, "[nlo person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual." Most state adoption statutes, including Georgia's, while not specifically providing for homosexual adoptions, do not explicitly ban them. In addition, the American Bar Association ("ABA") does not support a complete ban on homosexual adoptions, and its House of Delegates in February 1999 adopted a policy to support laws allowing homosexuals to adopt when the adoption is in the best interests of the child.