Thursday, May 1, 2014

[USA - Nebraska] "Same-sex foster case can continue" by Lori Pilger

"Three same-sex couples can go forward with their lawsuit challenging a longstanding state policy that prevents them, and all unmarried couples, from adopting or being foster parents, a Lancaster County judge has ruled.

Greg and Stillman Stewart, Lisa Blakey and Janet Rodriguez, and Todd Vesely and Joel Busch sued the state of Nebraska last fall saying the policy violates their equal protection rights.

The suit takes aim at a 1995 administrative memorandum issued by Mary Dean Harvey, then director of the Nebraska Department of Social Services, which was one of several agencies that merged to form the present-day Department of Health and Human Services.

In it, it directed no foster home license be issued to "people who identify themselves as homosexuals" or "unrelated, unmarried adults residing together."

The couples said they were able and ready to apply for foster care licenses.

Vesley and Busch were sent a letter from Health and Human Services saying they would not be granted a foster care license pursuant to the policy barring unmarried, unrelated adults who live together.

District Judge John Colborn said the Nebraska Legislature and state courts have not imposed a blanket prohibition of "unrelated, unmarried adults residing together" from adopting children or being foster parents. Nor people "who identify themselves as being homosexuals."

In fact, Nebraska law currently allows both groups to adopt children through private adoption agencies or private individuals".

Read more at Journal Star

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