Gay Adoption Hub

Nebraska Ends Ban on Gay Foster Parents

Nebraska child welfare officials have lifted the 20-year-old ban on gay foster parents, the Omaha World-Herald reports:

RickettsAccording to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ spokesman, the state’s current procedure no longer considers the sexual orientation of people seeking to foster or adopt state wards.

Nor does the procedure bar children from being placed with licensed foster parents simply because of the parents’ sexual orientation.

“The policy hasn’t changed but the Department (of Health and Human Services) has fallen out of compliance with it,” Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said Friday. [...]

The policy has been in place since 1995, when HHS’s then-director outlined it in an administrative memo.

The memo bars unmarried, unrelated adults who live together from becoming foster parents or from having children placed with them. The policy affects homosexual couples, unmarried heterosexual couples and platonic roommates.

The policy also bars licensing or placing children with “persons who identify themselves as homosexuals,” whether those people live with a partner or not. Other single people are not prohibited from being foster parents in Nebraska.

Lesbian Couple That Brought Down Alabama's Gay Marriage Ban Sues State Over Second-Parent Adoption

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Previously, we told you about Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, the Mobile, Alabama couple that sued the state to recognize their 2008 wedding in California as legitimate and sought crowdfunding to help to pay for the $40,000 in legal fees they incurred fighting the discriminatory ban. The couple is set to head back to court, filing a new lawsuit against the state, demanding that Searcy's request for a second-parent adoption of the child the couple have raised together be granted immediately. Probate Judge Don Davis had denied the petition despite the recent ruling striking down Alabama's marriage ban. Davis said he would not consider the matter until the Supreme Court rules on the same-sex marriage cases it agreed to undertake. 

As reports, the very reason Searcy and McKeand challenged Alabama's marriage ban in the first place was so that Searcy could be legally recognized as a parent to their son:

David Kennedy, one of the couple's lawyers, expressed exasperation at Davis' decision. He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade's order to take effect and that Granade handed down a separate order on Feb. 13 specifically instructing Davis to stop enforcing the gay marriage ban.

"I'm disappointed. The United States Supreme Court made a decision with the ruling in the Searcy case," he said. "We don't think that it's fair or equitable to Cari Searcy to wait until the Supreme Court has ruled on some 6th Circuit (U.S. Court of Appeals) case." [...]

On Friday, Davis issued an "interlocutory decree" granting Searcy temporary parental rights, including the authority to consent to necessary medical treatment. Such temporary orders are standard in second-parent adoptions until the court can convene a hearing to review any potential objection to a permanent adoption.

Those final hearings typically last about 15 minutes, according to lawyers familiar with those proceedings.

But Davis included a paragraph stating, "It is further ORDERED by the Court that this Decree is qualified in nature, and the Court will not issue a final adoption order until a final ruling is issued in the United States Supreme Court on the Marriage Act cases before it."

In addition to the court order instructing Davis to grant the adoption without further delay, the lawsuit also asks for compensatory and - if the judge deems it appropriate - punitive damages, as well as legal fees.

While the interlocutory decree grants Searcy some additional rights it does guarantee that Searcy would have custody over the child should her wife die. 

Low Voter Turnout Kills Slovakia's Anti-gay Referendum on Marriage and Adoption Rights

A (Pope Francis-backed) referendum that would have reinforced Slovakia's existing laws against gay marriage and adoption rights has failed due to low voter turnout, The Wall Street Journal reports

SlovakiaOnly 21.4% eligible voters cast their ballots, below the required 50% quorum in this predominantly Roman Catholic country of five million people to make the national-vote results legally binding, according to the Slovak electoral commission. Poll results were based on data collected from nearly all polling stations.

The preliminary results showed that most of those voting in the referendum agreed to all three questions it asked: whether marriage can only be a union of a man and a woman; whether to ban same-sex couples from adopting children; and whether parents can let their children skip school classes involving education on sex and euthanasia.

The Slovak anti-gay vote followed a similar referendum that succeeded in Croatia, also a Roman Catholic EU member, in 2013. The different results reflect cultural differences within Europe on gay rights. Some people in mostly ex-Communist eastern EU states, including also Hungary and Poland, are against what they view as excessively liberal policies such as legalizing various forms of same-sex unions and children adoptions by gay couples possible elsewhere in the 28-nation bloc, including Austria and the Czech Republic.

Buzzfeed adds:

The Slovakian outlet reported just after midnight local time that voter turnout was 21.3%, with 99% of precincts reporting. The outlet reported that 94% of those who cast ballots on Saturday voted in favor of the ban on marriage equality, but opponents of the initiative encouraged people to stay home so that a “yes” vote would be invalid.

The ballot included three questions. The first asked voters if marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. This was mostly symbolic, because Slovakia’s parliament established that definition in the country’s constitution in a June vote.

The other two questions would have changed existing law if passed, asking if same-sex couples should be denied the right to adopt and whether parents should have the right to withdraw their children from sexual education classes.

The referendum was backed by anti-gay U.S. organizations including NOM and Alliance Defending Freedom - as well as the World Congress of Families. These organizations' international anti-gay efforts were documented last year in the HRC's "The Export of Hate" report. 

Pope Francis Endorses Slovakia's Referendum to Ban Gay Marriage And Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been a remarkable change for the Catholic Church, particularly compared to his predecessor, but even amidst the calls for reasoned debate and 'zero tolerance' for pedophile priests and just generally behaving more like an actual Christian, the Pope is still of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church is generally skeeved out by the very idea of homosexuals.

Slovakia will be voting on a referendum this Saturday that, if passed, would ban marriage and adoption rights to homosexual couples in the country. Last June the country added language to the constitution that banned recognition of same-sex couples, so the referendum will not be adding anything new on that front, but the denial of adoption rights is salt in the wound of same-sex couples. Enter Pope Francis who this past Wednesday in Rome said,

I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society.

This comes as a mighty endorsement in a country that is approximately 2/3 Catholic. Confusingly, Father Martin Kramara, the spokesperson for the Conference of Slovak Bishops, told BuzzFeed that,

We would be very unhappy if [the referendum] generates any animosity against homosexually oriented people.

Denial of the basic right to marry and reduced to "other" status that is implied to be unfit for raising children? Why on earth would any animosity arise from that?

Portuguese Parliament Blocks Bill Allowing Gays To Adopt

PortugalDespite widespread support the left-leaning Socialist party, a bill that would have allowed gay couples to adopt children has been defeated in Portugal’s Parliament. Versions of the law were submitted by the Green, Left Block, and Socialist parties, but the bill that was up for debate this past week was narrowly ousted by a slim 30 votes.

The entire Parliamentary body is composed of 220 representatives. Provisions preventing gay people from adopting children were written into a 2010 law that finally allowed gay couples to marry. 

Virginia Bill Allowing Unmarried Gays To Adopt Defeated

Howell"Two steps forward, two steps back" continues to be the best way of escribing Virginia's path towards LGBT equality.  Virginia state senator Janet Howell’s bill that would have allowed unmarried gay couples to adopt children has been shot down by Virginia Republicans.

Howell’s bill, which was backed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, was built around the idea that regardless of marital status, children fare better having two parents in their lives. The conservative opposition countered Howell’s bill arguing that unmarried parents made for unstable homes.


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