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Gay and lesbian adoption and fostering bans challenged

While the state of Colorado does allow gay couples to adopt or become foster parents, not all states allow gay couples to adopt. A 1995 Nebraska law bans gay and lesbian couples from being adoptive or foster parents to children who are in state custody. Two male couples and a female couple have filed a lawsuit in a Lincoln district court claiming that the ban is unconstitutional.

The Nebraska law that is being challenged prohibits the issuance of foster care licenses or placing children with people who have identified themselves as homosexuals and unmarried adults who are living together. The American Civil Liberties Union, who is representing the Nebraska couples, claims that there have been exceptions granted to the law for heterosexual couples, but not for gay and lesbian couples. Following this summer's U.S. Supreme Court rejection of a clause in the Defense of Marriage Act, a number of state-level challenges to existing laws that limit the rights of same-gender couples have been filed across the country.

According to an attorney for the ACLU, Nebraska, Utah and Mississippi have the most restrictive adoption laws. Utah prohibits all unmarried individuals from being adoptive or foster parents. Mississippi only bans same-sex couples from those parenting roles.

An individual or couple in Colorado considering the adoption of a child, may benefit from knowing what the federal and state laws are around the foster care and adoption process. An attorney who is knowledgeable in family law, may be able to answer questions and address any concerns they have. An attorney may also provide the guidance to assure that the required paperwork is completed accurately and timely.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, " Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption? ," Jan. 2012

Source: Huffington Post, "Nebraska'a Gay Adoption, Foster Parent Ban Challenged", Brendan O'Brien, August 27, 2013

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