Destroying Families to Protect “Family Values”

Last month the West Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear a case stemming from a judge’s order that an infant be removed from the same-sex foster parents who had cared for her since birth and placed with “traditional” family:

In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the court agreed to hear the appeal of Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess to a November ruling by Fayette County Circuit Judge Paul Blake … Blake issued his ruling after Kutil and Hess sought to adopt a 2-year-old girl who had been in their foster care since she was born in December 2007.

The Department of Health and Human Resources placed the girl, who was born to a drug-addicted mother and was suffering from withdrawal, with the Oak Hill couple on Christmas Eve that year.

After Blake terminated the mother’s parental rights last month and the father could not be located, the DHHR moved to permanently place the girl and allow Kutil and Hess adopt her.

Fayetteville lawyer Thomas Fast filed a motion Jan. 24 to remove the child because it had been placed in a “homosexual household,” according to documents filed with the Supreme Court. In a Nov. 12 order, the judge ruled the DHHR had failed to seek a “traditional most family-like setting with a mother and father” after placement with the birth family failed … Blake ordered the child removed, and the DHHR placed her in a second foster home. The Supreme Court ordered her returned to Kutil and Hess.

And, of course, Religious Right groups have gotten involved … and guess which side they are on:

A family rights group wants to stop a same-sex couple from adopting a child they have kept in foster care since birth … The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed an amicus curiae Jan. 20 that argues abused and neglected children should be placed “on a par with natural children.”

An adoption plan forwarded by the DHHR suggested both Kutil and Hess, as an unmarried cohabiting couple, would be preferred as adoptive parents.

That is contrary to state code, which allows for adoption by a married couple or a single person, according to a brief submitted by Thomas K. Fast, an attorney representing the child in this litigation.

“There’s no legitimate reason to invent exceptions to this law,” said Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel Brian Raum. That group works in tandum with the Family Policy Council on legal and public policy issues.

The Family Policy Council advocates public policy that continues the tradition of married mother-father adoption.

According to Jeremiah Dys, president and general counsel for the group, the group agrees with both sides’ experts that the “ideal situation is to put the child in a home with a mom and a dad.”

So apparently, were either Kutil or Hess single, they would have been allowed to adopt this child, but since they are a couple, they can’t and so right-wing groups have decided to weigh in and try to get the child removed from their home altogether.

I see this sort of thing all the time, but it never fails to amaze me how willing right-wing advocates are to destroy families in the name of protecting “family values.”