On April 7, Nebraska’s Supreme Court finally brought down a horrible, discriminatory state law that prevented LGBT couples (and unmarried persons) from fostering and adopting. Three same-sex couples brought the case to court with the help of Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the ACLU, and won. Surprisingly enough, a district judge had already overturned the ban in 2015, however, the state appealed and has not allowed same-sex couples to foster or adopt in the last two years.
“The harm the plaintiffs wish to avoid is not just the possible, ultimate inability to foster state wards,” Judge John Wright wrote in the unanimous opinion. “It is the discriminatory stigma and unequal treatment that homosexual foster applicants and licensees must suffer if they wish to participate in the foster care system.”
He also referred to the policy that prevented gay couples and individuals from adopting and fostering as “legally indistinguishable from a sign reading ‘Whites Only’ on the hiring-office door.”
Janet Rodriguez and Lisa Blakey and Todd Vesely and Joel Busch were two of the three couples that brought the case to court in 2015. Blakey and Rodriguez who had been together 8 years were barred from being foster parents because they were gay and unmarried. Whereas, Vesely and Busch had passed background and home checks but because they were gay, they were prevented from fostering and adopting.
Nebraska’s foster care system grew by 7 percent between 2015 and 2016 and there are more than 3,800 kids currently in the system. Hopefully, with this new ruling, those children can be placed in happy homes with loving couples or individuals who were once prevented from providing safe homes and love to these children.