Two Miami courtrooms, two cases, one very interesting juxtaposition of Florida law:
In criminal court, prosecutors dropped a child abuse case against a man named Loscar Rodriguez, a father, who decided that a good belt lashing would teach his 8 year old son to get better grades. Did the boy get better grades? Not sure, but he did get raised welts on his leg and backside, bruises big and purple enough to alarm a teacher, and a butt that hurt him to sit upon.
At the same time, across town at the District Court of Appeals, a man named Frank Gill fought to protect his status as the father of two boys he first fostered then adopted. He and his partner had taken in the two young brothers who had known no other healthy family, and were eventually called exemplary fathers and family, but the state is appealing the adoption because Gill is gay.
Florida law bans gay people from adopting children. But it protects the right to beat a child with an object until he/she is black and blue.
Back in criminal court, prosecutors cited case law that helped them decide the belt-wielding, lash-giving Rodriguez is not a child abuser under the law. Turns out, in cases past, Florida appellate judges have opined “even significant bruises or welts from paddling” is discipline, not abuse; that “a strike on the face, a split lip, forced feeding” is – you guessed it – discipline, not abuse. Exactly what does a child learn from that? How and when to dole out the same violence when he/she grows up?
Back to the DCA. Attorneys for Gill argued Florida’s exclusion of gays in the adoption process is unconstitutional. The ban has been law for decades and has prevented countless children from the benefits of loving, responsible, nurturing parents.
The appellate court ruling usually takes a few months.
The criminal court case was dropped in 12 minutes.