Connect with us

Judge Rules Nebraska’s Ban On Gay And Lesbian Foster Parents Is Unconstitutional

Published

on

Nebraska judge rules that banning same-sex couples from becoming foster parents is unconstitutional. So is making them go through more hoops than heterosexual couples.

On Wednesday, a state judge struck down a Nebraska policy that banned same-sex couples from providing foster care or adopting state wards. Citing the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized marriage equality across the country, Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn ruled that Nebraska’s policy violated the Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.

The policy dated back to 1995 and prevented unmarried, unrelated couples that lived together from becoming foster parents or adopting state wards. In 2012, the state Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) technically stopped enforcing the ban, but same-sex couples still had to undergo additional layers of scrutiny and approval not required of married heterosexual applicants.

According to Omaha.com, under the current policy that was just ruled unconstitutional, same-sex couples had to pass five levels of scrutiny by the department’s director of children and family services. That’s three levels more than heterosexual individuals or married couples, and it’s even above and beyond what was required of convicted felons.

“I can’t understand why we would have to go through a higher level of scrutiny than a criminal,” said Lisa Blakey, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit who has been with her wife, Janet, for 10 years. “I am not a criminal. My wife is not a criminal.”

Judge Colborn agreed and ruled that state licensing procedures have to be the same for all foster care applicants, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. “Defendants have not argued, nor have they identified, any legitimate government interest to justify treating gay and lesbian couples differently than heterosexual individuals and heterosexual couples in this review process,” he said in his ruling.

Lisa and Janet hope to be foster parents soon. “We’ve wanted to share our home with kids for years,” Lisa said. “Now we finally get that opportunity.”

Danielle Conrad, Executive Director of ACLU Nebraska, gave the following statement on their website:

Nebraska’s motto of ‘Equality before the Law’ rings out more truly for all of us on this thrilling day. This is a special victory for thousands of children in Nebraska who now have more options to find loving and stable homes.

The couples in our case, like thousands of other gay and lesbian Nebraskans, have demonstrated their ability to provide loving homes for children. We are grateful for the court’s unequivocal, broad, and positive opinion in favor of LGBT Nebraskans constitutional rights to be full participants in our child welfare system.

Nebraska finally joins America in ending state sponsored discrimination in policy and practice that hurt Nebraska families and that prevented children in need from accessing loving and stable foster families.

 

Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

BREAKING NEWS

Just 9 Republicans Joined Democrats to Uphold the Rule of Law and Vote to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

Published

on

Only nine House Republicans joined with every Democrat in voting to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Thursday afternoon’s final vote was 229-202.

Bannon refused to obey a lawful congressional subpoena ordering him to hand over documents and to submit to congressional investigators for a deposition. His legal defense was mocked by experts after he tried to invoke executive privilege.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise had directed House Republicans to vote against the motion.

Top voting rights attorney Marc Elias warns against praising the nine Republicans for doing the right thing in this one instance: “all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation,” he tweeted.

Continue Reading

News

‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’

Published

on

Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, on Thursday issued what is being called a “chilling” statement on the election and the insurrection he incited.

“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” Trump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh simply and clearly calls it an “act of war.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) during debate on the House floor has “repeatedly” been “calling on Republicans to denounce the Trump statement,” according to reporter Jamie Dupree.

“All my colleagues were elected on November 3,” McGovern said. “If you believe that Election Day was an insurrection, then your election results are illegitimate.”

McGovern is not the only one to blast the Trump statement:

Some journalists are also slamming the former president’s latest remarks.

S.V. Dáte, the White House correspondent at HuffPost weighed in, saying, “Donald Trump tried to overthrow American democracy after he lost his election by 7 million votes, but nearly a year later, he’s still lying. About all of it.”

Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called it a “chilling statement … that makes clear his stance on peaceful democracy vs. violent insurrection.”

Washington Post White House bureau chief Ashley Parker pointed to the statement and said: “In which Trump’s shamelessness continues to be his political super power.”

ProPublica Senior Reporter Peter Elkind says: “This is the position of the widely embraced leader of the GOP. Republicans all behind that?”

More:

 

 

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists

Published

on

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday morning was forced to respond to repeated Republican false claims about his memo directing the DOJ to hold “discussions” with local leaders about threats of violence made against school board members, and several times had to push back hard against false accusations made by GOP Congressmen.

Franklin Graham, Stephen Miller, and countless others on the right for weeks have been falsely claiming that Garland has ordered DOJ to investigate parents merely for opposing school board decisions, mostly on mask mandates and what they claim is “critical race theory.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing falsely suggested Garland was calling parents’ challenging school boards domestic terrorists.

“One example of a so-called terrorist incident was a parent, merely questioning whether school board members had earned their high school diplomas. Now that might have been rude, but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your Justice Department ought to be investigating?” Chabot asked.

“Absolutely not,” Garland replied. “And I want to be clear the Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish, about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act.’ Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”

As NCRM has previously reported, school board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.

Ironically, it was Congressman Chabot who, a decade ago, was legitimately accused of violating the First Amendment when his staffers directed local police to confiscate video cameras at the Congressman’s town hall event, held in a public school.

Chabot, ruffled and rebuffed by Garland’s response, decided to end the inquiry there.

“Thank you I’m nearly out of time.”

Watch:

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.