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ACLU challenges Nebraska ban on gay and lesbian foster parents

The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [press release] on Tuesday challenging a Nebraska policy banning gay and lesbian people from becoming foster parents. The complaint [text, PDF] was filed at a state court in Lincoln on behalf of three same-sex couples who claim the policy violates their right to equal protection [Cornell LII backgrounder] rights. The ban also prohibits gay and lesbian individuals from becoming adoptive parents, since the Nebraska policy requires an adoptive parent to first be licensed as a foster parent. The ACLU stated:

Every major children's health and welfare professional group—including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the Child Welfare League of America—recognizes that over 25 years of scientific research shows that parents' sexual orientation has no relevance to parenting ability or the well-being of children.
There are currently more than 3,800 children in Nebraska's foster care system.

The legal controversy over same-sex marriage has also implicated debate over the parental and adoption rights of same-sex couples [JURIST backgrounder]. In May French President Francois Hollande [official website, in French] gave final approval [JURIST report] to legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and establishing the right of same-sex couples to adopt. Earlier that week Brazil effectively legalized [JURIST report] same-sex marriage in a court ruling that prevented notaries from denying to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. Also that month same-sex marriage legislation was approved in the US states of Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island [JURIST reports]. In April Ireland announced it would hold a referendum [JURIST report] on same-sex marriage.

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