Kozlowski also helped represent Steven Lofton, a Florida gay man who in 1999 unsuccessfully tried to adopt his foster sons.
How could no parents be better than gay parents? Thats when ideology trumps the reality, Kozlowski said.
Florida banned gays from adopting just after Anita Bryant successfully campaigned to repeal Miami-Dade Countys gay-rights law in 1977. For 33 years, the state was the only one in the nation that specifically banned gays from adopting. The law was overturned in 2010 when an appeals court upheld an adoption granted to Martin Gill of Miami-Dade County.
Smith and Skahen adopted their boys in 2008. The state chose not to contest a Monroe County judges ruling, making them the first openly gay adoptive parents in Florida.
The message remains an important message, said Smith, a Key West attorney who works with other foster parents, gay and straight, who want to adopt.
Occasionally, we get wind of some politician who wants to reinstate the ban against gay adoption. We have to be vigilant, Smith said. There are still significant voices in Tallahassee and around the state who are opposed to full equality for all families.
Smith said their sons, Alex, 15, and Joseph, 16, attend Northeast boarding schools.
Joseph is dyslexic and in a special school. Hes doing remarkably well. Hes going to a high school that boasts a 100 percent graduation rate, and 100 percent of their kids go on to a college or university. He wants to be a veterinarian and Im very confident he can do it.
Smith said Alex is being educated elsewhere because we dont have a lot of confidence in the local high school.
Both boys are thriving, Smith said.
When you see them realizing their potential, its fulfilling, its humbling, he said. It fills me with the sense of awe about life in general.