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Nebraska Is Sued Over Policy Banning Gay Foster Parents

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- A Nebraska policy barring gay and lesbian couples and individuals from being foster parents was challenged in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

The organization filed a complaint today at state court in Lincoln, the capital, on behalf of three same-sex couples who allege the prohibition violates their constitutional right to equal protection of the law.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is barred by a 1995 policy from placing foster children with people who “identify themselves as homosexuals” as well as unmarried adults living together, the ACLU said in a press statement.

The rule “cruelly takes stable, loving families away from the vulnerable children who desperately need them,” Amy Miller of the ACLU of Nebraska said in the statement. There are more than 3,800 children in the state’s foster-care program, she said.

The group asked for a court ruling that the policy is unconstitutional and an order barring its enforcement.

Anita Scheuler, a spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, said she could not immediately comment on the case.

The case is Stewart v. Heineman, D02CI130003157, District Court of Nebraska, Lancaster County (Lincoln).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at aharris16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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