Karen Celestino-Horseman

Same Sex Adoption is Safe for Another Day

Filed By Karen Celestino-Horseman | August 04, 2006 11:17 AM | comments

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Score one for Indianapolis attorney, Barbara Baird and Patricia Logue of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund! Thanks to their hard work, the Indiana Supreme Court today declined to accept an appeal of the decision of In re The Adoption of M.W., Morgan County Office of Family and Children v. R.K.H. and K.A.B. in which the Indiana Appellate Court upheld the adoption of a baby girl by a same sex couple.

The issue presented before the Indiana Appellate Court was "whether the Indiana Adoption Act permits an unmarried couple - any unmarried couple, regardless of gender or sexual orientation - to file a joint petition for adoption." See, this opinion. While two of the deciding appellate judges held in the affirmative, Judge Najem filed a dissenting opinion, stating: "I would hold that Indiana law does not allow an unmarried couple, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, to file a joint petition to adopt a minor child."

Today, Justice Dickson issued a dissenting opinion to the decision by the Indiana Supreme Court not to hear the case, writing as follows:

[O]ur denial of transfer does not constitute approval of the Court of Appeals decision and has "no legal effect other than to terminate the litigation between the parties in the Supreme Court." Ind. Appellate Rule 58(B). But by denying transfer in this case, we are missing a valuable and important opportunity to minimize uncertainty and confusion until such time as the legislature provides explicit superceding reclarification. I would prefer for this Court to grant transfer to uphold the legislature's exclusive authority to regulate adoption eligibility and procedure and to apply Indiana's existing adoption statutes as prohibiting adoptions by unmarried couples. I thus respectfully dissent from denial of transfer.

Is this issue finally resolved? Probably not. There has been legislation introduced in the past to limit adoptions to married couples, which, under Indiana law, means a man and a woman. I think we can expect to see another legislator attempt to limit adoptions to married couples thereby foreclosing children an otherwise unavailable opportunity to be raised in happy and loving homes.

And that will bring me to the subject of my next column - the importance of becoming involved in the Indiana legislative races. Until then, celebrate another bullet dodged!


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I saw the "headline" when I logged onto Yahoo. I knew I would find the story here in bilerico. And you are correct Karen - we need legislators who will not use any means possible to deny rights to the GLBT population. I wonder if the fight will never end? Wake up, Indiana!!!!

Jane Cutler | August 5, 2006 4:47 PM

I was pleasantly surprised & very happy by the decision. I have sent this same comment to the Star: Excellent decision! Major national organizations concerned about the mental health & well-being of children agree that gender and sexual orientation are not appropriate criteria for determining parenting ability. Just last month the American Pediatric Assn provided a lengthy analysis which concluded with this statement: "Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents." This view is also held by organizations representing psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. The prejudice, discrimination, and social stigma aimed at homosexuals is unwarrented and cruel. We need increased efforts to address the outrageous rate of child abuse in this state, not maniacal focus on loving foster and adoptive parents who happen to be gay. Dr. Jane Park Cutler, LCSW, former child welfare social worker

Here is my reply to the newspaper:

First of all, gay people do not CHOOSE to be gay. You can choose your religion but you cannot choose your sexuality. Homosexuality is not taught, nor is it contagious. People are what they are.

Second, I know many gays and lesbians who are raising children, whether biological or adopted. They have proven to be the most warm, caring parents I have seen. We should be rioting in the streets over parents, most of them heterosexual, who abuse and torment their children. Children respond to being wanted - it doesn't matter what the sex is of the parents.

The family as we saw it on TV back in the 50's and 60's is gone. In its place are blended families, step-families, grandparents raising children, inter-racial families, inter-religious families. As long as the children feel safe, loved and cared for, that is all that matters.

As far as the notion that children need a man and a woman to raise them, what is the divorce rate in this country? How many single moms and dads are there? Does divorce, sometimes a few divorces, make a stable environment for a child?

No, the people who do not want gays to adopt don't really think of the interests of the children. They only think of their own feelings and fears. I would hope that those people who carry around hate for the gay community would put the children's needs first, not their own prejudices!

SupremesFan | August 8, 2006 9:48 AM

Karen;

Am I the only one fretting about the potential turnover on our state Supreme Court soon?

On the issue mentioned here, and many others, our state version of the Supremes has been in-place for over a decade, and the Chief has been there since Gov. Orr. Although we have every reason to believe he's gay-friendly (hold your chuckles, folks...this is serious), I'd prefer a new Chief at some point soon.

The issue in this case--correct me if I'm wrong--is that the Appeals Court refused to send the case to the Supremes. Nothing more (sadly). I think I know how these Supremes would've ruled, but we'll all have to guess. And I don't trust this Chief.

If we think MMM has screwed up the BMV--has he had even one Appeals Court choice? Let alone a Supreme.

We can't let MMM anywhere near the State Courts. In the era of Major Moves/BMV et al, he is desperately seeking far-right approval. Hell hath no fury like a far-right Bushista scorned.