National Briefs • 08.30.13

Posted on 30 Aug 2013 at 10:45am

Same-sex couples challenge Neb. law banning gay foster parents

LINCOLN, Neb. — Three same-sex couples plan to sue Nebraska because they say the state won’t allow them to become foster parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to hold a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the lawsuit it plans to file on behalf of the gay and lesbian couples.

Tyler Richard with ACLU Nebraska declined to discuss details of the case before the news conference.

Current state policy bans openly gay people and unrelated, unmarried adults who live together from serving as foster parents.

State lawmakers considered a bill earlier this year that would have allowed gay and lesbian couples to serve as foster parents, but that bill failed to advance before the legislative session ended.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials didn’t immediately respond to messages.

Petelos

Stephanie Petelos

Ala. GOP votes not to silence leader for backing marriage equality

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s Republican Party decided Saturday against a rule meant to silence a young party leader who supports gay marriage, even though the party doesn’t share her view.

Stephanie Petelos, chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, created a furor in the party when she supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and said more young people would take the position if they didn’t fear a backlash from party leaders.

After passionate comments from both sides Saturday, the State Republican Executive Committee cast a lopsided voice vote to reject a proposed rule change aimed at Petelos’ remarks. It said that no member of the party’s steering committee may publicly oppose any resolution passed by the party’s executive committee. Petelos serves on the 21-member steering committee because of her College Republican position.

She said she hopes the vote inspires more young people to get involved in the party and make their voices heard. “I really hope this doesn’t scare or shy people away from the party,” the University of Alabama senior said.

Petelos is from a family that was Republican long before the party dominated Alabama politics. Her father, Tony Petelos, was a Republican legislator, director of the state Department of Human Resources and mayor of Hoover before becoming administrator of Jefferson County. Her mother, Teresa Petelos, served as a Republican circuit judge in Jefferson County until she was beaten by a Democrat last year.

The 450 members of the executive committee meet twice a year to set party policy. The 21-member steering committee is the party’s top committee and meets more often to handle administrative matters.

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Gov. Tom Corbett

Penn. governor compares same-sex couples to children in court filing

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in the state are invalid because the couples were barred from marrying, just like 12-year-olds, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s attorneys said Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Corbett’s administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block same-sex marriage licenses in suburban Philadelphia, where Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes has issued more than 150 to gay and lesbian couples since July 24.

State attorneys said in a court filing on Wednesday the gay marriage licenses have no “value or legitimacy” and can’t be defended in court. They compared gay and lesbian couples to children, who can’t marry because a 1996 law says marriage is between a man and a woman.

“Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old … is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license’?
the state wrote, according to a story on Philly.com.

The state Department of Health brought the case against Hanes. Hanes, who says the state law is unconstitutional and discriminatory, is scheduled to appear in Commonwealth Court next week in the case.

More than 30 gay and lesbian couples that received marriage licenses from Hanes say a ruling against him could invalidate their marriages, and they’ve sought to participate in the case.

— Associated Press

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