Last week's decision by a Florida judge requires Florida to recognize the legality of gay and lesbian adoptions finalized in other states, regardless of whether or not Florida itself allows them. A Washington state lesbian couple originally adopted each other's biological child, then moved to Florida where they eventually split up.
When one mother, Kimberly Ryan, attempted to bar the other mother, Lara Embry, from seeing the child, the court system became involved. An initial Florida ruling gave Ryan the continued right to bar Embry from seeing the child based on Florida's laws barring same-sex parent adoption.
In the District Court of Appeals decisions, Judge Whatley said that Florida law specifically required adoption decrees from other states must be recognized in Florida. Regardless of whether the trial court believed that the Washington adoption violated a clearly established public policy in Florida, in the judge's opinion it was improper for the trial court to refuse to give the Washington judgment full faith and credit.