Nebraska’s Same-sex Adoption Ban Challenged, Will Virginia’s Be Next?
Every child deserves to have a safe and loving family life…right? Apparently, everyone doesn’t agree, as in the state of Nebraska, three same-sex couples have been denied the opportunity to adopt children and as a result, filed a lawsuit with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Nebraska state law allows single LGBT individuals to adopt, however the union of same-sex couples aren’t honored as legitimate married couples, and in 1995, policies were created to exclude openly LGBT couples to adopt.
According to the Associated Press, the ACLU of Nebraska’s Legal Director, Amy Miller said, “Nebraska’s policy on gay and lesbian foster parents does nothing to help children. The individual review process already screens out the unsuitable parents. All this policy does is throw away people who would make good parents.”
Greg and Stillman Stewart have adopted five children from California who were in and out of the system and suffering from a variety of abuse and neglect issues. There hope is to reach out to a few other children, to change their lives for the better…in their family.
Lisa Blakey and Janet Rodriguez have personal ties to the foster care system as Lisa was once in foster care. Their hope is to bring children into a loving, safe environment.
Todd Vesely and Joel Busch in 2008 when they were denied adoption rights based on the policy. They are longing for a family.
All of these couples have been together ranging from 8 to 3o years. Their levels of commitment, support, and love shouldn’t be questioned as being LGBT individuals and then LGBT couples have already set them apart from other applicants as they have faced adversity in a multitude of ways.
One must consider what exactly does it mean to be a family and why are children being denied supportive homes due to applicants’ sexual orientation. How is family defined by the state of Nebraska and even the state of Virginia?
In 2012, the “conscience clause” was passed in Virginia. This clause grants adoption agencies, which all are religiously affiliated, to discriminate against applicants based on religion.
While this specific law doesn’t forbid same-sex adoption here in VA (which is illegal on its own), it allows even single parent adoption by gay couples to be denied because of an adoption agencies religious affiliation.
“This legislation will help ensure that these adoption agencies remain active in finding homes for these children without being mandated by government to violate the tenets of their deeply held religious beliefs in the process.” Spokesperson for Governor McDonnell, Taylor Thonrley said to the Washington Blade. “This is a bill that reaffirms religious liberty and freedom, a hallmark of this great nation.”
The underlying questions become, what does it mean to put foster children in a stable, loving family environment and who is defining it and aren’t church and government supposed to be treated separate?
Ashleigh Boisseau is a feminist and a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in Print Journalism and minoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. She plans on using her passion for writing to educate others and to reach as many people as she can. Diversity & equality for all is very important and get’s her fired up. She enjoys shopping, nannying, and the little things in life-- no cliché. If she can inspire a few, she’s happy!
You can probably add another 1000 out-of-state same-sex marriages which have since been legally recognized.June 29, 2015
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