Friday, December 31, 2004

Some gay-friendly court decisions

The past couple of days have seen some good court decisions that help extend equal rights to LGBT people. In an Arkansas case, a circuit court decided that a state ban on placing foster children in any household with a gay member is unconstitutional. As quoted in the Washington Post:

[Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy] Fox noted that the Arkansas legislature gave the child welfare board the power to "promote the health, safety and welfare of children" but that the ban does not accomplish that. Rather, he said the regulation seeks to regulate "public morality" -- something the board was not given the authority to do.

"The testimony and evidence overwhelmingly showed that there was no rational relationship between the . . . blanket exclusion [of gays] and the health, safety and welfare of the foster children," Fox wrote.

In a separate case in Montana, the state Supreme Court narrowly decided that that state universities cannot deny benefits to same-sex partners of university employees.

The high court said the policy violates the Montana Constitution's guarantee of equal protection because unmarried heterosexual partners could get the benefit by signing a common-law-marriage affidavit, while unmarried gay partners could not.

Two decisions that little by little help chip away at the unequal treatment LGBT people face. It doesn't totally take away the sting from Nov. 2, but it sure provides more evidence that little by little, equality will win in the long run.


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