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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 35
Nebraska adoption ban challenged
Section One
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Nebraska adoption ban challenged

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Nebraska couples challenging the constitutionality of the 1995 state ban on same-sex adoption and foster parenting.

Under the policy, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is prohibited from placing children with 'people who identify themselves as homosexuals' or 'people who are unrelated, unmarried adults living together.' Accordingly, couples who fall into this category cannot be issued foster-care licenses.

The couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed August 27 in Lancaster County District Court, are Greg and Stillman Stewart, Lisa Blakey and Janet Rodriguez, and Todd Vesely and Joel Busch. All three couples live in Lincoln.

ACLU attorney Leslie Cooper claimed the state of Nebraska has made multiple exceptions for unrelated, unmarried cohabitating adults, but not for Gay and Lesbian couples. Thus, the law's enforcement has been inherently discriminatory.

Cooper also claims that given Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage, the provision that excludes unrelated, unmarried adults from being adoptive and foster-care parents is strategically worded to apply to Gay and Lesbian couples without specifically excluding them.

According to Cooper, Nebraska, Utah, and Mississippi have the most restrictive adoption and foster-care policies for Gay and Lesbian couples.

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