ACLU Reacts to Missouri Attorney General’s Statement Signaling End of Statewide Anti-Gay Foster Care Ban

June 8, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

KANSAS CITY, MO –  Opening the possibility of loving families for the nearly 2,000 children in Missouri who desperately need foster care, the Missouri Attorney General has indicated that the state’s anti-gay foster care ban must be dropped.  The move was applauded today by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been battling the ban since 2004.

“Every major mainstream child welfare and health organization opposes laws that ban lesbian and gay people from parenting because social science proves that lesbian and gay people are just as capable of being good parents as anyone else, said Lisa Brunner, ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri cooperating attorney.  “Making so many new foster homes available by ending this senseless and illegal ban is wonderful news for the children of Missouri.”

Among the national groups that oppose laws restricting parenting by gay and lesbian people are the Child Welfare League of America, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. 

Attorney General Jay Nixon admitted to reporters Wednesday that because the state’s unconstitutional same-sex only sodomy law was repealed earlier this week, there is no longer any basis for the state’s denial of foster care applications by lesbian and gay people.  After losing an administrative appeal, the ACLU won its challenge to a Missouri Department of Social Services decision to deny a woman’s application to become a foster parent because she is a lesbian in trial court this February.  Missouri officials had appealed, claming a state law banning sexual intimacy between same-sex couples meant that gay and lesbian people were unfit to be foster parents, even though the law used for this justification was rendered unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

“The attorney general’s office is recognizing what our legislature already acknowledged in striking down the sexual misconduct law – that there is no justification for discriminating against gay and lesbian Missourians," said Julie Brueggemann, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality organization.  “We know that there are gay and lesbian families ready and waiting to take in many of the children in need of foster homes, and we’re thrilled that they are finally going to be able to do so.”

Additional information about the ACLU’s challenge to Missouri’s foster care ban is available at:
www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/12199res20050503.html

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