MO Judge Sides with Child Welfare Experts, Granting Lesbian Couple

On February 17th, A Missouri Circuit Court ruled that in the case of
Lisa Johnston v. Missouri Department of Social Services the state of
Missouri's actions were "arbitrary and unreasonable" in denying a foster
parent licensure based upon the plaintiff's sexual orientation.

"It is heartening to see that today's ruling took into account the best
interests of the child," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe
Solmonese. "Judge Midkiff joins the position of every reputable,
national child welfare association in determining that sexual
orientation has nothing to do with one's parenting abilities."

The nation's leading children's health, children's welfare and mental
health organizations have issued statements declaring that a parent's
sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child.
The list includes: American Medical Association (2004); Child Welfare
League of America (1988); National Association of Social Workers (2002);
American Academy of Pediatrics (2002).

"Recent polling shows the overwhelming majority of Missourians believe
that gay and lesbian parents should be able to provide a needy child
with a stable and secure home," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe
Solmonese. "The simple fact is that today's ruling mirrors the values
and beliefs of the people of Missouri."

A state-wide poll conducted by Hart Research in November 2005 for the
Human Rights Campaign and PROMO conclusively found that Missouri voters
believe gay and lesbians are fit to serve as parents. Some of the key
findings in the poll include:

  • 84% say that the state should not remove children from
    someone's care simply because that person is gay or lesbian;

  • 61% say if it were up to them, they would allow gays and
    lesbians to adopt children in some circumstances;

  • Three in four (73%) voters favor taking adoptions by gays and
    lesbians on a case-by-case basis, based upon what is in the child's best
    interest, rather than simply banning all adoptions by gays and lesbians;

  • Only 26% of voters believe that the state should simply ban all
    adoptions by gays and lesbians.

"The ACLU with the support of PROMO should be applauded for standing on
the side of the majority of the people of Missouri and making sure this
couple could provide a nurturing home for a child they deeply love and
care about," concluded Solmonese.

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