Key West Hub

Florida Delivers Subsidy Benefits to Adopted Son of Gay Couple


Back in September 2008 I posted about a judge's decision to strike down Florida's adoption ban in the case of Wayne LaRue Smith, a Key West man who was allowed to adopt the foster son he had been caring for.

Good news in that case. Child welfare administrators have finally agreed to provide subsidy benefits to the child:

"On Tuesday, DCF lawyers did an about-face, agreeing in writing to provide the boy with subsidized college tuition, health insurance under the state's Medicaid program, and other benefits typically provided to other children who are adopted from state care. 'It means, finally, after 10 years, he gets what every other child in the same circumstance gets just by asking,' Smith said of his now-teenage son, who has not been identified by The Miami Herald to protect his privacy. 'In a symbolic sense, for whatever reason, the department has decided to take the better path, one they should have taken in the first instance,' Smith added. 'I will probably wonder forever why it is that we had to go through years and years of litigation, and hundreds of thousands in expenses, just to get what other children get automatically.'"

The Florida ban on adoption still exists, though a judge recently dealt another blow to it by allowing a lesbian couple to adopt an infant relative.

Video: USS Vandenberg Sunk off Key West to Create Artificial Reef


The USAFS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a giant warship used by the military as a troop carrier during World War II and also to shuttle post-war refugees and Holocaust survivors to the U.S., but most recently to track missiles and spacecraft, was sunk off of Key West Wednesday, plunging below the surface in less than two minutes:

Vandenberg2 The Miami Herald reports: "It took 14 years, $8.6 million in mostly public funds, endless volunteer hours navigating 18 government agencies, and a winning auction bid by a local bank on courthouse steps that prevented the ship's purchase by metal scrappers. At 523 feet, the Vandenberg is the second-largest ship ever intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef. The 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove off Key Largo was the largest when it was sunk in 2002. But four years later, it lost that distinction when the 904-foot aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was sunk 24 miles off Pensacola. Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson said the Vandenberg will be a perfect new tourist attraction, calling it 'the southernmost underwater museum on the historic trail of sunken ships in the Keys.'''

Watch the sinking of the Vandenberg, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Video: USS Vandenberg Sunk off Key West to Create Artificial Reef" »

News: Rod Blagojevich, Sushi, Cam Gigandet, Latisse, Daniel O'Donnell

road.jpg Illinois Governor Blagojevich tries to fill Obama's Senate seat: "U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said in a statement this afternoon that the Senate will not seat anyone Gov. Rod Blagojevich chooses to fill Illinois' vacant Senate post, amid word that the governor is set to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. The statement also is signed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who has repeatedly urged Blagojevich not to name a replacement for the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama."

Cooperroad.jpg Choire Sicha asks Anderson Cooper in the L.A. Times if he has any plans to offer 'opinionated' perspectives like some of his fellow anchors: "I have no plans to, no. I think those people are really good at what they do. Rachel Maddow is an incredible talent -- she's funny, and smart, obviously well researched on subjects. I'm just not interested as a viewer in listening to anchors' opinions. It seems like there's an awful lot of yelling, and this year yelling's been replaced by sarcasm and snark- iness."

road.jpg Many more shots of Prince Harry's fun in the sun.

road.jpg Sushi is ready to drop!

road.jpg Push for domestic partner recognition NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell interviews with David Paterson for Clinton Senate seat: " To say Mr. O’Donnell, known for his active support of gay rights issues, including same-sex marriage, was overly optimistic about his chances would be a stretch. He put his odds of getting the seat at about one in 10, or 'about the same as the population of gay people in the world.' But Mr. O’Donnell did offer that he believes the governor has yet to settle on a final choice."

road.jpg Vampire hottie Cam Gigandet shops at Barney's in a kilt.

Meritbadgesroad.jpg Wouldn't it be great if this overachiever turned out to be gay?

road.jpg FDA approves drug that thickens and grows longer eyelashes: "Latisse is a once-daily prescription treatment that is applied to the base of the upper eyelash with a sterile, single-use-per-eye disposable applicator. Once treatment is stopped, eyelashes will gradually return to where they were prior to treatment. Allergan said it estimates global peak sales of Latisse solution could top $500 million a year."

road.jpg Scientists to ignite man-made star.

road.jpg Jude Law shows off his bod in Brazil.

Leviroad.jpg BIRTH: Sarah Palin is a grandmother now.

road.jpg Gay man attacked in nightclub in Preston, UK: "Hairdresser Daniel Jenkinson, 23, who was left covered in blood after the assault, says he is now frightened to go out in the city. His attacker – Neil Bibby, 22, of Bramble Court, Penwortham, Preston – was sentenced to 200 hours' unpaid work, a three-month weekend curfew, and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation by Preston Magistrates after he pleaded guilty to assault."

road.jpg Perverted Catholic criminals.

road.jpg The Killers to record with Paul McCartney? "According to UK tabloid The Sun, the former Beatle watched the band perform at London's Royal Albert Hall last month and then told Brandon Flowers and co that he'd love to record with them. The paper quotes an unnamed 'source close to McCartney' as saying: 'Paul had a great time at the gig. He loves their music and their great attitude. He was as pleased to meet them as they were to meet him but they were gobsmacked when he said he'd love to do something with them music-wise.'"

Florida's First Gay Adoption


Earlier this month I posted about the Circuit Court judge in Florida who had struck down the state's ban on gay adoption in order to allow a foster parent in Key West to adopt the son he had been raising. Here's more from the Miami Herald on Wayne Larue Smith and partner Daniel Skahen and their 12-year-old son:

"The two men have fostered more than 30 children since DCF accepted their application nine years ago, from a 2-day-old newborn to a 17-year-old. Still, there was something missing. The little boy who had come to their home in 2001 wanted a real father, Smith said. Not a foster dad. Not a permanent guardian -- a legal nicety that occurred in 2004 granting Smith the ability to make decisions on the boy's behalf. At the doctor's office, at the grocery store, at an airline ticket counter, the boy seemed to visibly deflate every time a stranger asked Smith, 'Is that your son?' Smith said. Smith and Skahen were, in most respects, model foster parents, records showed. 'The applicant is seen as nurturing, stable and devoted,' a social worker's home study concluded. 'As an individual, he is considered to hold high moral character and is known to be gentle and patient.' The 12-year-old boy's teacher testified the couple were among the most involved and nurturing parents in her class. 'I must confess,' she told a judge, 'the first year I had him, knowing he was of gay parents, I looked for things, and I found nothing.'"

Also, check out the video here...

A gay father finds victory in his family [miami herald]

Judge Rules Florida Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional [tr]

Judge Rules Florida Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional

A Florida Circuit Court judge has ruled Florida's gay adoption ban unconstitutional. The ban has been in place for 31 years:

Florida"At the heart of the Monroe case is a 13-year-old boy with learning disabilities and special needs who has lived in his Key West foster father's two-story home since the Department of Children & Families placed him there in 2001. The boy is identified as John Doe. The father, 52, is not identified. Audlin appointed the foster father as guardian for the boy in 2006. At a recent hearing, the boy testified he wanted the man to be his 'forever father' -- like all the other kids had -- 'because I love him,' the order says. A home study by a social worker 'highly' recommended the guardian and his partner be allowed to adopt the boy, saying the two men provided a 'loving and nurturing home,' provided 'fair and consistent' discipline and are financially secure, the order says. Miami attorney Alan Mishael, who represents John Doe's guardian, declined to discuss the ruling, since Audlin has not yet published it formally. He said the ruling is less about public policy than the welfare of a former foster child who wants a father of his own."

According to the Miami Herald, Judge David J. Audlin Jr. wrote: "Contrary to every child welfare principle, the gay adoption ban operates as a conclusive or irrebuttable presumption that is never in the best interest of any adoptee to be adopted by a homosexual."

School of Stingrays


Here's the coolest photo I've seen all day.

Shot in Key West, apparently.

These are likely cow-nose rays, which often swim in large groups close to the surface.


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