Missouri guv admits lesbian is qualified to be foster parent, yet still opposes her

Noted by Bill Freivogel at his Law Talk blog at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon announced that he will drop the state's challenge of a lesbian woman's attempt to become a foster mother. This sets him squarely in opposition to Governor Matt Blunt, who has made a second career out of antipathy towards gays. The breakdown:

The state admitted that plaintiff Lisa Johnston - a woman in a monogamous lesbian relationship who has a bachelor's degree in human development and family with special emphasis on child development - was exceptionally qualified to be a foster parent...except that as a lesbian, she was a criminal under Missouri’s sodomy statute, RSMo § 566.090. The state's opposition rested solely upon that statute.

However, presiding judge Sandra Midkiff determined that the state's reliance on the statute was unconstitutional inasmuch as the Supreme Court had previously struck down a similar Texas law on sodomy in private settings, Lawrence v. Texas.

The state tried to appeal the decision, but Attorney General Nixon rightly concluded that the state no longer has grounds for opposing Johnston becoming a foster parent, and so dropped the appeal in its tracks.

Freivogel concludes:

The case illustrates the absurdity of turning down a highly capable gay person, especially when there are many foster children who can’t find homes.

It also illustrates the mean-spirited determination of the Blunt administration to ostricize gay men and lesbians from civil society. That hostility will certainly continue; a related AP story states that Blunt's Department of Social Services "isn't moving to allow other gay people to be foster parents."

A better day may come for Missouri; Jay Nixon will oppose Matt Blunt for the governorship in 2008.

(Cross-posted over yonder. Also, I forgot how to do the "Read more" thingie. Bleh.)

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