The Omaha World Herald reports:
The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision Friday ordering the state to pay nearly $174,000 in attorneys fees to those who successfully challenged a policy that denied the placement of foster children with same-sex couples.
The high court rejected the appeal of Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who said the same-sex couples who brought the lawsuit failed to show they were injured by the former policy of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The harm the plaintiffs wish to avoid is not just the possible, ultimate inability to foster state wards; it is the discriminatory stigma and unequal treatment that homosexual foster applicants and licensees must suffer if they wish to participate in the foster care system,” stated the unanimous opinion, written by Judge John Wright.
The state argued that the lower court should have dismissed the suit because the ban was no longer being enforced at the time it was filed. The court ruled that the suit was valid since the ban was still formally on the books.
The ACLU reacts:
The Nebraska Supreme Court today upheld a lower court decision which strikes down a decades old ban on gay and lesbian foster parents. Nebraska was the only state in the country with such a ban still in place. ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad had the following statement in response to today’s decision:
“This is a victory for children and LGBT Nebraskans. Since the lower court ruling striking down Nebraska’s ban, our clients Todd and Joel have opened their hearts and home to several children in need. There are tens of thousands of LGBT people who call the Cornhusker State home and thousands of Nebraska children in need of a foster care placement. This victory means that Nebraska’s motto of ‘Equality before the Law’ rings out more truly for all in our state.”