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 Nebraskaâ€™s policy violated the Constitutionâ€™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 departmentâ€™s director of children and family services. Thatâ€™s three levels more than heterosexual individuals or married couples, and itâ€™s even above and beyond what was required of convicted felons.
â€œI canâ€™t understand why we would have to go through a higher level of scrutiny than a criminal,â€ said Lisa Blakey, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit who has been with her wife, Janet, for 10 years. â€œI am not a criminal. My wife is not a criminal.â€
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. â€œDefendants 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,â€ he said in his ruling.
Lisa and Janet hope to be foster parents soon. â€œWeâ€™ve wanted to share our home with kids for years,â€ Lisa said. â€œNow we finally get that opportunity.â€
Nebraska’s motto of ‘Equality before the Lawâ€™ 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.
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Just 9 Republicans Joined Democrats to Uphold the Rule of Law and Vote to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt
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.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 21, 2021
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.
Before anyone praises them, all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation. https://t.co/QMFsczUgjk
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) October 21, 2021
‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’
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.”
This statement is an act of war against America. ANY Republican who does not publicly rebuke this statement must be defeated. ANY Republican. pic.twitter.com/mVAsPXkqGK
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 21, 2021
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:
In debate on the January 6 investigation today on the House floor, Democrats are repeatedly bringing up this new statement from Donald Trump. Rep. Jim Clyburn D-SC says the “Big Lie” is just like the “Lost Cause” after the Civil War. pic.twitter.com/NDNHdjKrYq
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 21, 2021
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?”
A former president of the United States who took an oath to uphold the US Constitution: “The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” #DonaldTrump #ThisIsGoingWell NB: almost no evidence of voter fraud has been uncovered or confirmed.
— Priscilla Huff (@phuffdaddy) October 21, 2021
Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists
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.”
Garland: That is not what the memorandum is about at all nor does it use the word domestic terrorism or patriot act pic.twitter.com/6vJqDDPcBf
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 21, 2021
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