Couples Ask Court to Deny Stay in Birth Certificates Case
(AP) An attorney for three-same sex couples who sued Arkansas to require both spouses be listed on children's birth certificates is asking the state's highest court to not block a judge's ruling striking down part of the state's birth certificate law.
Attorney Cheryl Maples on Thursday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny the state's motion to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling ordering the state to issue amended certificates to the couples.
Fox's decision also declared a portion of the state's birth certificate law unconstitutional after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. Maples has said that move clears the way for other married same-sex couples to receive amended certificates.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked justices Wednesday to stay Fox's ruling, saying it could have unintended consequences.
Kansas Senator Criticizes Gay Rights, Media's Foster Care Coverage
(AP) A south-central Kansas lawmaker has sent an email to constituents criticizing media coverage of the rights of gay couples in the state's foster care system.
Republican Sen. Forrest Knox from Altoona said in the email sent Wednesday that the media prioritizes gay rights over the needs of foster children.
Knox chairs a special committee on foster care that last month reviewed research by Catholic priest and sociologist Donald Paul Sullins on the fitness of same-sex couples to foster.
Sullins' research has been disputed by scientific organizations, including the American Psychological Association.
Knox told the Wichita Eagle that he believes the research shows that traditional nuclear families best meet foster childrens' needs.
The Kansas Department of Children and Families has repeatedly said it does not discriminate against same-sex couples.
Couples Press for End to Mississippi Gay Adoption Ban
(AP) Four lesbian couples pressed a federal judge on Friday to overturn Mississippi's last-in-the-nation ban on allowing same-sex couples to adopt, but lawyers for the state argued the lawsuit should be tossed out.
Plaintiffs want U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III to issue a preliminary injunction allowing members of two couples who don't have parental rights to adopt their spouse's children immediately. They say that after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage, there's no need to wait for a full trial.
Roberta Kaplan, arguing for the plaintiffs, said Mississippi is still telling same-sex couples that "their marriages and families are not as good as the marriages and families of straight couples. And that's directly contrary to what the Supreme Court said."
Mississippi officials, though, argue the lawsuit is defective because the plaintiffs are suing state officials who have no power to order an adoption. And after the plaintiffs then sued four chancery judges who can order adoptions, the state argued that it's improper for a federal court judge to issue a blanket order to a state judge when the plaintiffs haven't even filed adoption actions.
"These plaintiffs and everybody else should be required to go to state court first," said Justin Matheny, representing Attorney General Jim Hood. He also implied that the ban might not apply to one person who wants to adopt the child of their spouse, saying "there is an ambiguity about how it works," and said anyone rejected by a chancery judge could appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Kansas Lawmaker Calls for Audit of Child Welfare Agency
(AP) A Kansas lawmaker said he will seek an audit to determine whether the state Department for Children and Families discriminates against same-sex couples in foster care and adoption cases amid questions about why a Topeka councilman and his wife were granted custody of a child who had been cared for by a lesbian couple for 11 months.
The effort from Rep. Jim Ward, a Democrat from Wichita, comes after the Topeka couple, Jonathan and Allison Schumm, were charged in November with one count each of aggravated battery and four counts of endangering a child. The Department of Children and Families had recommended the couple receive custody of a child who had been in the custody of Lisa and Tesa Hines of Wichita.
Ward's request also comes after a legislative hearing last month during which some lawmakers questioned whether same-sex parents should be allowed to foster children.
Ward said Wednesday he will ask for the audit Dec. 10, when the Legislative Post-Audit Committee meets, The Wichita Eagle reported.
"It never made any sense that a child, an infant, who had bonded with foster parents was going to be pulled from those foster parents to be placed with a family that already had, as I recall, 13 children," said Kari Schmidt, attorney for the Wichita couple, Lisa and Tesa Hines. "It just defied logic. Why would you do that?"
Schmidt said Lisa Hines is a professor of social work at Wichita State University and called her "clearly qualified" to care for the child.
The DCF recommended the Schumms as adoptive parents because they had adopted half-siblings of the child.
OMM Boycott Backfires, Gay Dad's Charity Gets Windfall
(EDGE) You'd be hard pressed to find any family with LGBT parents to owe hate group media watchdog organization One Million Moms (OMM) a debt of gratitude. And yet, it happened.
A proverbial "Christmas miracle" has happened for fledgling charity Comfort Cases. The organization which works to support foster kids, was co-founded by Rob Scheer, one of the gay dads at the center of OMM's boycott of American Girl Doll and their parent company Mattel. The OMM boycott called out American Girl for "promoting sin" by featuring a story the Scheer's African American daughter which they saw as "pushing the homosexual agenda to children."
The story of OMM bullying a little girl over her adoptive parents sexuality sparked outrage from all major media outlets, including Fox News. As a result of the boycott and media coverage, the Scheer's foster kid-related charity Comfort Cases, which provides backpacks filled with essentials for foster kids, received an influx of donations from all over the world culminating in a 300 percent increase in revenue.
Thanks to OMM's bigotry, the holidays will be a little brighter this year for hundreds of foster kids who benefit from Comfort Cases. The organization's holiday packing party assembled 500 more cases than the previous year, a 70 percent increase. The total number of cases collected and distributed for year-end 2015 topped 10,000 - 4,000 more than 2014, an increase of 65 percent.