Sunday, January 30, 2005

Court Rules Lesbian Couple May Keep Child

I believe that most people enjoy children and want them to have the best that life offers, including a loving and nurturing family life as they grow up. My book research indicates that same-sex couples, gay or lesbian, can provide such good family life and that their children grow up with the sexual orientation that they were born with, not the orientation of the adoptive parents.

The following article comes from Lambda Legal, a group dedicated to fighting for the legal rights of sexual minorities. I found it through the site for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a group I belong to. Three cheers for PFLAG and especially Lambda Legal! And the judges who ruled correctly!

Lambda Legal Says Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Today Reinforces that Children's Needs, not Parents' Sexual Orientation, Dictate Parenting Decisions Statewide
Supreme Court overturns lower-court ruling that said a foster child should be placed with grandparents indicated for abuse instead of staying in loving home with lesbian foster mother

(Chicago, January 21, 2005) -- Lambda Legal issued the following statement on the Illinois State Supreme Court's unanimous ruling today that reinforces that the best interests of children, not sexual orientation, control foster placement, adoption and all parenting decisions in Illinois.

Today's ruling overturns a lower-court decision that ordered a foster child (known as "Austin W." in court documents) removed from the home of his lesbian foster mother and her partner, instead placing the child in the guardianship of grandparents who had been indicated [sic] for abuse against him. The lower-court decision had been appealed by the foster mother and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Lambda Legal authored a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the foster mother and DCFS. The state Supreme Court today restored DCFS as the child's legal guardian to resume its previously approved plan to allow adoption by the foster mother, Rosemary Fontaine.

The statement issued by Lambda Legal today is from Patricia Logue, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal in its Midwest Regional Office, who authored the friend-of-the-court brief in support of the foster mother and DCFS:

"Today's ruling puts the child's best interests first, overturning a lower-court decision that made the disturbing choice of preferring a home where the boy had been seriously injured over a loving home headed by two lesbians. The Supreme Court said that 'serious errors' were made when the abuse this child suffered was discounted by caseworkers and the lower court.

"It's clear today that the Illinois Supreme Court understands that lesbian and gay parents can provide children with the love, support and guidance they need. Two decades of social science evidence shows that lesbian and gay people make excellent parents, and the state Supreme Court today did not even suggest that Rosemary's sexual orientation should keep this 5-year-old boy from the nurturing environment she's given him for nearly his entire life.

"Sexual orientation is not a relevant issue in choosing foster parents or in allowing good foster parents to permanently adopt children. All that needs to be determined is whether the child will be in a loving and nurturing environment -- an environment that Austin W. has found with Rosemary and her partner."

Lambda Legal fought for three years to make sure that Austin W. now 5 years old, was not taken during the appeals process from the safe and loving home he has enjoyed since he was an infant recovering from skull and leg fractures. Lambda Legal arranged representation for Rosemary Fontaine from Michael Brody at Winston & Strawn and submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the state Supreme Court together with the National Association of Social Workers and its Illinois chapter, the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law and the ACLU of Illinois.

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