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

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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

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Jesus Was Not a Socialist!’ Fox News Panel Explodes Over Jesus Christ’s Political Views

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Conservative religious pundits on Fox News recoiled in outrage on Sunday after a left-leaning guest suggested that Jesus Christ was “more of a socialist” than a capitalist.

During a Fox & Friends segment designed to cast doubt on the faith or Democratic presidential candidates, evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress argued that socialism is “antithetical to Christianity.”

But St. Paul Reverend Dee Dawkins-Haigler reminded the other panelists that scriptures seemed to point to what people now call socialism.

“We believe in things like, what did you do to the least of them?” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “You fed the hungry, you clothed the naked, you went to see those who are in prison.”

“You do not have to be a socialist to be a Christian!” Jeffress shot back. “Socialism is antithetical to Christianity and if they nominate Bernie Sanders, they are not going to be able to attract any faith voters.”

“I totally disagree,” Dawkins-Haigler retorted. “People would have said that Jesus was more of a socialist than anybody we’re talking about today.”

The remarks stopped Fox News host Pete Hegseth cold.

“Why was Jesus a socialist?” he exclaimed.

“Because Jesus did not sit with the establishment, he overturned tables of the tax collectors, he sat with people who were lepers,” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “He made sure he healed people who people thought should not have been healed.”

“So we have to be very careful how we use this language and try to take ownership of who God is,” she added.

“That’s a big claim,” Hegseth interrupted again, giving the floor to Jeffress.

“No! Jesus was not a socialist!” Jeffress opined. “He said render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s and to God the things that are God’s. He was compassionate. Church is to be compassionate, but you don’t have to believe in socialism, which is nothing but communism light and is absolutely is opposed to everything that is Christian.”

Watch the video below from Fox News.

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM SOUNDS LIKE

Trump National Security Advisor Blasted for ‘Weaponizing’ Classified Intel Against Bernie Sanders as Nevada Caucuses

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President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor was blasted online on Saturday for a smear against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while Nevada Democrats were caucusing to choose the DNC’s 2020 presidential nominee.

Josh Dawsey, White House reporter for The Washington Post, broke news on Saturday about what Robert O’Brien said in an interview to air on Sunday.

O’Brien was quickly criticized for his comments. Here is some of what people were saying:

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'WHAT REAL JOURNALISM LOOKS LIKE'

Internet Heaps Praise on CNN’s Anderson Cooper for His ‘Must Watch’ Destruction of Rod Blagojevich

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper received near-universal praise across the board for what one commenter called his “fiery rebuke” of recently paroled former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Friday night that culminated in the CNN host telling him excuses for why he should not have been in prison were “bullsh*t.”

During the highly-contentious interview, Cooper came armed with facts and did not let Blagojevich get away with comparing himself to political prisoner Nelson Madel a which drew a smirk and rebuke from the CNN host.

Many on Twitter were quick to point to the interview as one all cable hosts should look at as a way to stop guests who go on shows to lie with no pushback.

As former President Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it: “At a time when so many lies go unchecked and unaddressed by the media, @andersoncooper ‘s fiery rebuke of Blagojevich’s narrative could not have been more necessary. This is what real journalism looks like.”

You can see similar comments — as well as video — below:

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