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MIAMI - A Miami appeals court has upheld a ruling overturning Florida's law banning adoption by gays.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal issued its decision Wednesday affirming a lower court's decision that the ban is unconstitutional.
Florida is the only state with a law flatly banning gays from adopting children without exception. Gays can be foster parents in Florida.
A Miami-Dade County judge ruled the gay adoption ban unconstitutional in 2008, but the state appealed. The case will ultimately go to the state Supreme Court.
Martin Gill and his male partner, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the lawsuit in their attempt to adopt two brothers who have been their foster children since December 2004.
Gay and Lesbian families in Tampa are applauding the decision, calling it a victory for Florida and all families.
Shelbi Day, the ACLU attorney who brought the case before the court, told ABC Action News, "What this means is that gay people in Florida can adopt. This is binding on all trial courts and it remains to be seen whether or not the state will appeal."
"This is a light at the end of the tunnel for our families," said Cathy James. James is a mother of a 10-year-old boy her partner gave birth to, and she is on the board of Securing Our Children's Rights, Inc., or SOCR.
"My partner and I have been together 16 years and we have a son together, but because of the law in Florida, my son and I are legal strangers to each other," said James.
The state will take 30 days to decide if it will appeal.
Copyright AP Modified, Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Four people including two children are being treated for dog bite wounds following a vicious attack in Lakeland on Thursday.