November 21, 2006
Egalitarian Marriages At Cost of Egalitarian Society?
"“Some of usare becoming the men we wanted to marry,” Gloria Steinem proclaimed 25 years ago. She meant, of course, that women in large numbers were seizing the places in higher education and the professions that had formerly been closed to them, becoming the doctors, lawyers and executives that they once hoped only to wed. Over the past generation, the liberal notion of egalitarian marriage — in which wives are in every sense their husbands’ peers — has gone from pie-in-the-sky ideal to unremarkable reality. But this apparently progressive shift has been shadowed by another development: America’s growing gap between rich and poor. Even as husbands and wives have moved closer together on measures of education and income, the divide between well-educated, well-paid couples and their less-privileged counterparts has widened, raising an awkward possibility: are we achieving more egalitarian marriages at the cost of a more egalitarian society?" By Annie Murphy Paul, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)
Ethiopians React to Georgia Court Sentence for Father Who Circumscised Daughter
"Hundreds of Ethiopians took to the streets of Addis Ababa on Saturday calling for a retrial of an Ethiopian jailed in the United States for circumcising his daughter. In what was believed to be the first such case in the United States, a Georgia judge sentenced Khalid Adem to 10 years in prison this month for removing his two-year-old daughter's clitoris with scissors in 2001. The jailing has fuelled a passionate debate across Africa, with some approving the punishment but others opposing it." By Reuters, N.Y. Times Link to Website (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)
South African Parliament Proposes Same-sex Marriage
"Parliament on Tuesday voted resoundingly to legalize same-sex marriages in South Africa, making the nation the first in Africa and the fifth in the world to remove legal barriers to them, according to advocates. The nation’s highest court ruled last December that South Africa’s marriage statute violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights. The court gave the government a year to alter the legal definition of marriage. That left the government with three choices: legalize same-sex marriages, let the court change the law by fiat or alter the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Under the proposal approved by Parliament, heterosexual and same-sex couples could register marriages or civil partnerships. In a concession to critics, the law also would allow civil officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples if such marriages conflicted with their conscience."By Sharon LaFraniere, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)
Lesbian Parents Listed on Birth Certificate
"A lesbian couple in South Jersey won court approval this week to have both of their names listed as parents on the birth certificate of their newborn, and the attorney general’s office said it will no longer oppose such applications. The decision, in Family Court in Burlington County, stems from an Oct. 25 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court holding that same-sex couples are entitled to the same legal rights and protections as heterosexual couples. The court gave the Legislature 180 days either to bring gay couples within the state’s marriage laws or establish a parallel system of civil unions." By Laura Mansnerus, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)
Mexico City Recognizes Civil Unions
"Mexico's ruling conservative party is considering filing a legal challenge to Mexico City's new law recognizing gay civil unions, saying it violates a clause in the country's constitution protecting the family, legislators said Friday.The law was published in the city's official gazette on Thursday, making it the first such law in the history of the conservative, predominantly Roman Catholic country. It will take effect 120 days from that date. City assemblyman Miguel Angel Errasti said his National Action Party -- the party of President Vicente Fox and President-elect Felipe Calderon -- is determining whether the new law can be challenged on constitutional grounds." Associated Press, N.Y.Times Link to Article (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)
November 20, 2006
10th Circuit Hears Arguments on Oklahoma's Law Refusing Recognition of Adoptions by Same Sex Parents
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments this past week examining the constitutionality of the Oklahoma Adoption Invalidation Law. The Act, passed in 2004, would ban state officials from recognizing a same-sex adoption. Same-sex couples anywhere with legally adopted children would lose their status as parents when inside Oklahoma. The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma struck down the law in May, finding that the law "By its refusal to recognize and give effect to a valid judgment, from another court of competent jurisdiction, which established their status as parents of their respective children, the Amendment violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause and substantive due process rights."
Finstuen v. Edmondson, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32122 (May 19, 2006)
Adoptive Children Want More Information About Birth Parents
According to the BBC News service, a new report by children's rights director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, says that adopted children want more information about their birth family and why they were adopted. Accordindg to the report, these adopted children feel badly informed about the process. Dr Morgan is calling for them to be given more support. He surveyed 208 adopted children, aged from six to 22.
Read the BBC Report (last visited November 20, 2006 bgf)
Major New Report on Birth Mothers
A major new report on adoption was released this last week. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a report devoted to birth mothers, whom it described as ''the least understood and most stigmatized participants'' in the adoption process. The report focuses on U.S. mothers who voluntarily place infants for adoption -- an estimated 13,000 to 14,000 such adoptions occur annually. Most of this country's roughly 135,000 adoptions each year are from foster care; the next biggest category is overseas adoptions. The report urges that mothers deciding to place their infants for adoption deserve better counseling, more time to change their minds, and more support in trying to keep track of the children they relinquish.
Read the full report (last visited November 20, 2006 bgf)
November is National Adoption month. The week of thanksgiving was established as National Adoption Week in 1976 by then-President Gerald Ford. In 1995, President Bill Clinton expanded the period of observance from one week in November to the entire month. A number of states lawmakers have also made separate declarations for their state and around the country, celebrations, public education events and news stories have focused their attention on adoption.
Read this year's presidential proclamation (last visited November 20, 2006 bgf)