Adoption Procedure Nullified
A state appellate court in San Diego has ruled 2 to 1 that California law does not authorize second-parent adoptions., according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Lawyers said the decision could invalidate every such adoption in the state, unless the state Supreme Court overturns the ruling.
The appellate court "takes no account of the havoc that ( the ruling ) will have on families who've guided their lives under the principle that they're both legal parents," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and an adoptive parent herself.
A new law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will allow domestic partners to adopt each other's children as step-parent adoption. The Court of Appeal said the new law will have the effect of "minimizing the feared impact of this decision."
But opponents said the new law covers only existing partnerships. Couples who have broken up or moved out of state, and those in which the biological parent has died, will not be able to revive the adoption without getting married, which same-sex couples cannot do, the paper reported.
The case involved a prominent lesbian couple, Annette Friskopp and Sharon Silverstein. Silverstein had a son by artificial insemination in 1996, and Friskopp won Superior Court approval for a second-parent adoption. Silverstein had another son in 1999, and they petitioned for adoption, but when they broke in 2000, Silverstein sought to withdraw her consent, the Chronicle said.
The Family Pride Coalition denounced the decision. "The children involved in this case are two and five years old," said Leigh Kretzschmar, attorney for Friskopp. "Certainly they know that Annette is their mother, but the legal system is refusing to acknowledge that these two children know to be true.
HATE CRIMES RISE
The Human Rights Campaign said the FBI's new crime report shows the disturbing trend of hate crimes continues unabated despite lower overall crime rates. FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2000 showed that as overall serious crime decreased slightly, with the Crime Index at its lowest level since 1978, reported hate crimes have continued to rise and increased 3.5 percent from 1999 to 2000. At the same time, the number of law enforcement agencies participating in reporting hate crimes decreased 3.6 percent from 12,122 to 11,690.
Reported hate crime incidents based on sexual orientation continued to increase and rose 0.9 percent. Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have more than tripled since the FBI began collecting statistics in 1991, and comprise 16.3 percent of all hate crimes for 2000 at 1,330. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation continue to make up the third highest category after race and religion, which make up 53.6 and 18.2 percent, respectively of the total, 8,152. HRC said it is widely known that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are under-reported, and evidence indicates that FBI data does not paint the whole picture. The gay National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported 2,151 incidents in 2000 in only 11 cities/jurisdictions across the country while the FBI collected statistics from 11,690 reporting agencies for the year.
Mississippi Punishes child
Mississippi is refusing to issue a birth certificate to a 4-year-old boy, punishing him because he has been adopted by lesbians. The refusal means that the child has no legal document to prove his name, the names of his parents, and his date and place of birth.
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit against the state demanding Mississippi provide a certificate to the child, as required by law. The state has refused repeated requests for the document since the child was adopted at infancy.
Cheri Goldstein and Holly Perdue took their son into their Vermont home when he was discharged from a Mississippi hospital, eight days after his birth. In April 2000 the adoption was finalized in Vermont and a request was made to have Mississippi amend the child's birth certificate to include his adoptive parents' names and his new name.
Goldstein and Perdue live with their son and six other adoptive children. They also care for two adults with severe mental retardation. Perdue has been a foster parent for 18 years and has taken care of many children with special needs. The couple have been sought out by Vermont officials when special-needs children have needed adoptive homes.
Gay bank folds
The nation's only Internet-based bank that markets primarily to gays is going out of business, but its founder is trying to buy it and keep it going without interrupting services. G&L Bank announced plans to close by Jan. 3 after liquidating, selling its assets or being acquired.
The bank was founded two years ago by Steven Dunlap, who was ousted from its management last year. Dunlap, said he has formed Gay Community Bancshares Inc. and might plan to purchase G&L.