Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ACLU: Nebraska's ban on gay foster parents is beatable

James Esseks of the ACLU says the Cornhusker State's discriminatory ban on gay foster parents looks increasingly rickety:
     A Nebraska state trial court ruled today [4/25/2014] that our challenge to the state's ban on foster parenting or adoption by gay people can proceed. The ruling denies the state's attempt to kick us out of court and recognizes that the ban implicates the equality protections of the Nebraska constitution.

     At the heart of the case are Greg and Stillman Stewart, who have been together for over 30 years and are parents to five children that they adopted out of the California foster care system. Most of the kids came to them after suffering years of abuse and multiple foster home placements. When one of their children first came to live with them, at five years old, he was still in diapers and didn't know how to use utensils. By 17, he brought home a report card with all As and one B. Another child, who had been through 17 foster home placements and three failed adoptions in three different states, is now a college sophomore.
     ...Nebraska is kicking out lesbians and gay men who would pass the regular foster parent screening. And it's depriving the 3,854 kids in the Nebraska foster care system, almost half of whom have been there for more than a year, of what could be just the home they need. After all, there aren't many foster parent applicants with a record like Greg and Stillman's.
     ...the judge ruled that Greg and Stillman's case can go forward to discovery and then possibly trial. We fully intend this case to take down Nebraska's discriminatory ban, just as we have taken down similar bans on adoption or foster parenting by gay people in Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri. Nebraska is one of just three states that still have some kind of ban on foster parenting or adoptions by gay people – Utah and Mississippi are the other two – and we're aiming to get to zero.

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