August 30, 2007

Big Day in Court for the GLBT Community

Two very positive rulings came down today that are positive steps toward equality for GLBT people.

First, a lesbian couple in Maine won the right to proceed with legally adopting their foster children. From GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders):

Maine’s Law Court issued a unanimous ruling today that opens the door to two siblings
in foster care to be jointly adopted by the two women who have raised them for the past
six years.

Ann Courtney and Marilyn Kirby of Portland are no longer barred from forming a
permanent, legal parental relationship with their foster children, 10-year-old “M” and her
brother, six-year-old “R”. The children were not named in court documents to protect
their identities.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Ann. “We love these kids, and their well-being means everything
to us. Our daughter and son can now know that we are a family, and we’ll always be a

Attorney Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who
represented the couple, said, “This decision is in the best interest of the children, who
have flourished under Ann and Marilyn’s care. The court wisely listened to the experts
who knew this family well – everyone from the state’s adoption workers to the children’s
guardian to the social worker who completed the home study.”

The children were removed from their home in 2001 when their biological parents were
no longer able to care for them. They were placed with Ann, an attorney, and Marilyn, a
counselor, who quickly re-organized their lives to address the children’s multiple
emotional, learning, and developmental problems.

“A joint adoption assures that in the event of either adoptive parent’s death, the children’s
continued relationship with the surviving parent is fixed and certain,” the Court said. “A
joint adoption also enables the children to be eligible for a variety of public and private
benefits…Most importantly, a joint adoption affords the adopted children the love,
nurturing, and support of not one, but two parents.”

Here is the link to the entire press release.

In a potentially landscape-changing ruling, an Iowa court ruled that it unconstitutional in the state of Iowa to deny a same-sex couple the right to marry. That's right, Iowa could be moving in the direction of having legal same-sex marriages. There is more detail in this release by Lambda Legal, which is arguing the case, and it will ultimately go before the Iowa Supreme Court so nothing is final, but I find this fascinating nonetheless.

You know there are right-wing activists huffing and puffing even as I write this about "activist judges," which we have clearly established here means ones who don't adhere to the right-wing agenda of discrimination and bigotry.

Let them huff and puff, because at least today our courts ruled in favor of fairness and justice in these cases.

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