August 30, 2008
Case Law Development: Phillipines Supreme Court finds husband's homosexuality insufficient to declare marriage void
The Phillipines Supreme Court's 3rd Division, in a twenty page decision, reversed a lower court's ruling declaring an eleven year opposite-sex marriage void because of the husband's homosexuality. The Supreme Court found the trial court erred by only considering the husband's alleged homosexuality rather than requiring proof that the husband concealed his sexual identity from the wife at the time of the marriage.
A report of the case in a Phillipines newspaper is available here (RR last visited August 30, 2008)
August 29, 2008
Texas Drops 56 More Cases -- 253 Now Dismissed
According to the Deseret News (Utah), Texas has dropped 56 additional cases involving children taken from their homes at the FLDS Yearning For Zion ranch, raising to 253 the total number of cases dismissed. One child has been returned to foster care. (visited by MIF 08-29-08)
Tribal Same-Sex Marriage Law
"Kitzen and Jeni Branting -- Kitzen legally took Jeni's last name three years ago -- signed up for the domestic partnership registry in their home state of Washington, but Kitzen Branting said getting married under tribal law means more to her than state or federal recognition.
"They're my family and we're a pretty small tribe and I have a close connection to them," Branting said. She remembers summers spent at youth camps and performances of traditional Coquille dances. "They are my immediate people."
Once married, Jeni Branting, 27, who is not a Coquille, will have the same rights as any other tribal spouse, including health insurance and the right to attend tribal functions."
By abc News Link to Article (last visited 8-29-08 NVS)
August 24, 2008
Racial Disparities in Maryland Foster Care and Nationwide
Advocates for Children and Youth (Maryland), reports here that "African-American children in Maryland are in out-of-home
placement at 5.3 times the rate of white children, more than 50 percent
higher than the national gap. African-American children are being
removed from their homes at 3.5 times the rate of white children. These
disparities exist despite no evidence of any difference in actual
A substantial body of research has demonstrated nationwide that African-American children and families are treated worse at every stage of the child welfare process than whites. African-Americans parents are the subject of a disproportionate number of unsubstantiated reports of child abuse and neglect, African-American children are removed at greater rates than white children, receive worse treatment and endure longer stays in foster care, and are adopted at lower rates than white children. Much of the earliest research is described in Dorothy Roberts' chilling, classic 2001 book, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare.
For more recent state-by-state data, see Appendix 2 to this July 2007 U.S. Government Accounting Office report.
The Government Accounting Office submitted this July 31, 2008 testimony for a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support.
The Center for the Study of Social Policy has been a leader in bringing attention to this issue via the Annie E. Casey Foundation-CSSP Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. See Robert Hill's 2007 report for CSSP synthesizing research on racial disproportionality in child welfare, and CSSP's fact sheet.
(all links last visited 08-24-08 MIF)