Attorney General Doug Peterson has filed a motion, seeking clarification of a court ruling striking down a ban on same-sex couples becoming foster parents.
Peterson says his office is not challenging whether same-sex married couples can apply to become foster parents. He says the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling settled that matter.
“That issue is not what we’re disputing in the court’s order,” Peterson tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “What we’re disputing is, in the court’s order they expanded it to include couples who are not married and being considered as foster parents.”
Peterson says the ruling by a Lancaster County District Judge is ambiguous and could greatly broaden the definition of who is eligible to apply to become a foster parent, such as allowing unmarried couples or even roommates to become foster parents.
The motion has been filed in the same court that handed down the ruling.
“Our motion is to go back to the court and get it clarified, because the original complaint was only related to same-sex married couples,” Peterson says.
The state never rescinded a 20-year-old rule banning same-sex couples as well as unmarried couples from taking in foster children, though it no longer was enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, a motion has been filed requesting the Lancaster County District Court to reconsider its order issued on August 5, 2015 in Stewart v. Heineman, expressing concern that the broad scope of the order requires DHHS to treat “unrelated, unmarried adults residing together” the same as individuals and married couples for foster care and adoptive child placements.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]