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(CNN) -- A Florida circuit judge declared unconstitutional Tuesday a 31-year-old state law that prevents gays and lesbians from adopting children, saying "the blanket exclusion" of gay applicants "defeated Florida's goal of providing dependent children a permanent family."
"The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption," Judge Cindy S. Lederman wrote in her 53-page ruling.
Florida is the only state that specifically bans all "homosexual" people from adopting children, although it does allow them to be foster parents.
This month, Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit unmarried partners -- same-sex or opposite-sex couples -- from adopting children or from serving as foster parents.
The measure is similar to one in Utah, which excludes same-sex couples indirectly through a statute barring all unmarried couples from adopting or taking in foster children.Mississippi allows single gays and lesbians to adopt but prohibits same-sex couples from adopting