December 2008 Archives

December 19, 2008

Thanks for The Foster Care, Now Go Away

In addition to not liking anti-gay amendments, I'd venture to say on behalf of the LGBT community that we also don't like it when the state "allows" us to take care of its at-risk children when they are in greatest need, and then disqualifies us from becoming full legal parents to those children when we seek to take on that important responsibility.

At least one West Virginia couple doesn't like it, that's for sure. Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess are appealing a judge's order denying them the right to adopt the 11-month-old baby girl they've been raising since birth, when the drug-addicted infant was placed with them for foster care. The same judge who placed the child with the couple when it was felt that they could "provide appropriate and suitable foster care," now states that he feels that "the best interest of a child is to be raised by a traditional family, mother and father."

West Virginia allows adoption by single people and couples. There's no prohibition on adoption by lesbian and gay singles or couples.

After quite a bit of back and forth in this case, it was determined that the baby could stay with the couple until the West Virginia Supreme Court rules on the case. Oral argument is scheduled for March 11, and we'll keep you posted.

December 8, 2008

Marriage Notes From Here and There

News about same-sex marriage is everywhere. Just a couple of tidbits for today:

This week, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments about same-sex marriage. In 2007, a Circuit Court judge in Iowa declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling until the Supreme Court had a chance to hear the case (one couple got married before the stay, and the validity of their marriage hangs in the balance along with the fate of the rest of the gay Iowans). An interesting element of this case is that if the court upholds the lower court's opinion and finds the ban unconstitutional, it will be much more difficult for the anti-marriage forces to overturn the opinion with a constitutional amendment, as happened in California. A constitutional amendment in Iowa requires majority approval of the legislature in two consecutive sessions, followed by a majority vote of the electorate.

Next, Newsweek's cover story makes the case for same-sex marriage on the basis of the Bible, of all things. It's a very cool article; check it out.

December 3, 2008

Careful What We Ask For

They really get you coming and going with this marriage thing, don't they? First, we fight and fight to get the right to marry, and sometimes we succeed. Same-sex marriage in Canada has been legal for years now. Great, right? Sure, unless you want to end your Canadian marriage and you live in Oklahoma, where the family court won't grant you a divorce.

That's what happened to two lesbians who wed in Toronto in 2003, moved to Oklahoma, and have been trying since 2005 to get a divorce there. A ruling last week denied one partner's request for a divorce from her wife, on the basis that because Oklahoma doesn't recognize same-sex marriages, there is no valid marriage to end.

It used to be, if you were married you were married. Now, you can be married in one place and not so much in another. A lawyer friend of mine calls this "discrimination by complication," and I think he's right. For more about non-recognition issues and marriage, check out this Nolo article.