Friday, April 24, 2015

NE AG office: judge shouldn't strike LGBT adoption ban as state isn't following it right now

Assistant Attorney General Jessica Forch, according to the Omaha World-Herald, told Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn that he needn't strike down the policy, being challenged by the ACLU, because it isn't being followed now: "We're not arguing that it is constitutional. It is not applied It is not a policy. It's nothing."
     Victims of the guideline, in place since the mid-90s under Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson, would beg to differ about the harmlessness of the policy and did recently, during hearings on LB647, a bill to prohibit the state from discriminating in adoptions because of sexual orientation.

    The notorious memo specifically bars licensing or placing children with “persons who identify themselves as homosexuals."
     Forch said [former HHS children and family services director Thomas] Pristow approved 15 placements with gay or lesbian foster parents from that time until he was let go by incoming Gov. Pete Ricketts...
     In response to questions from Judge Colborn, Forch acknowledged that proposed placements with gay or lesbian foster parents had to go through more levels of approval than other placements. She said the scrutiny was intended to prevent bias.
     Forch also said there was no evidence the couples named in the lawsuit had been discriminated against.
     Claims that two of the couples were told they could not apply to be foster parents amounted to hearsay and should not be admitted as evidence, she said.

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