#Adoption

Gus Kenworthy Adopted A New Dog And Named It In Memory Of His Late Puppy Beemo

Gus Kenworthy is a daddy yet again.

The US Olympian and openly gay athlete was devastated back in May when his puppy named Beemo, whom he had adopted after discovering her in South Korea, died of a birth defect.

While Beemo will always have a special place in Kenworthy's, and boyfriend Matt Wilkas’s, heart and no dog will ever replace her, Kenworthy has shares that he has healed enough to move on.

The athlete posted on Instagram that he has decided to adopt a new rescue dog named Birdie.

Kenworthy started off the post by recounting how he rescued Beemo from a dog meat farm. Coincidentally, he also witnessed the birth of a new litter on that same day. It turns out that Kenworthy stayed up-to-date on litter after Beemo’s death and later decided to adopt one of them.

“I began getting photo and video updates on them as I waited for another farm closure and an opportunity for them to be brought to the States. That finally happened and four days ago I picked this little girl up in DC. She's a 5-month-old Jindo/ Lab mix and we named her Birdie (because birds were one of Beemo's favorite things in the world).” 

 

The day Matt and I visited the horrifying dog meat farm in South Korea we witnessed a mother dog giving birth to a litter of pups. The people at @hsiglobal told us that had they not been there filming my visit nobody would've seen the pups immediately and they likely would've died in the brutal cold. Luckily though I saw them and they were rushed inside and saved. A few weeks later when all 90 of the dogs on that farm (including Beemo) were flown to North America that mother and her newborn litter were the only ones that stayed behind because the pups were too young to travel. After Beemo passed away I was feeling completely empty and I reached back out to the Humane Society International to find out what happened to that litter. I found out that they were still in Korea and I began getting photo and video updates on them as I waited for another farm closure and an opportunity for them to be brought to the States. That finally happened and four days ago I picked this little girl up in DC. She's a 5-month-old Jindo/ Lab mix and we named her Birdie (because birds were one of Beemo's favorite things in the world). Nothing in the world could ever replace Beemo or the love that we felt and still feel for her but Birdie has already stolen a new place in our hearts and we're excited to be dog dads again. A HUGE thank you goes out to @hsiglobal for bringing our new baby home and for all they do for animals in need around the world (follow them and support their cause). Also an immense amount of gratitude goes to @awlaarlington for taking care of Birdie in DC until I could fly there to pick her up! I am going to continue Beemo's Instagram with pupdates on Birdie. I was nervous that would seem disrespectful to Beemo's memory but I actually LOVE the idea that both of my beautiful little girls will share the page. Also, a huge part of the reason I started Beemo's page in the first place was to continue promoting animal rescue and raise awareness for the dog meat trade and since the page already has a following I thought it'd be more impactful to keep it going rather than start all over again. Follow along! @b_pups #DogsAreFriendsNotFood #AdoptDontShop

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Kenworthy also shared that he plans to continue capturing the life of his pup through the same Instagram account that he used for Beemo.

“I am going to continue Beemo's Instagram with pupdates on Birdie. I was nervous that would seem disrespectful to Beemo's memory but I actually LOVE the idea that both of my beautiful little girls will share the page.”

Congratulations to the happy family. We hope the happiness continues for many years to come.

 

A post shared by Birdie (and Beemo RIP) (@b_pups) on

Gay Couple Stabbed By Their Adopted Son in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles

This morning, a family fight in Sherman Oaks, CA ended with horrific violence.

Earlier today, 21-year-old Matthew Boulet stabbed adoptive fathers Ken Coll and Tom Boulet.

The fathers adopted the young man when he was a young boy. Both men are in critical condition after being transported to the hospital, reports ABC-7.

Neighbors who know the family were shaken: “Tom and Ken have been very significant on our block,” says neighbor Florence Riggs. “Whatever happened with Matthew going over the edge like that, it’s all going to be rectified in some way.”

Right now it’s unclear what led to the violence, Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Mike Kozak says authorities are investigating mental illness as a factor. He used a pocket knife to stab his fathers.

The young man was arrested at the scene without conflict.

h/t: ABC 7

Federal Judge Tells Adoption Agency To Stop Discriminating Against LGBTQs

Two Christian adoption agencies in Philadelphia saw their city contracts suspended earlier this year when it was discovered they openly discriminated against LGBTQ people.

One of the agencies, Bethany Christian Services, agreed to change its policies and comply, but Catholic Social Services (CSS) refused to do so claiming their constitutional rights were being violated in having to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

Now, a federal judge has ruled against CSS’s request for a religious exemption to the law.

CSS freely admits that they do not certify same-sex couples as foster parents even if the couple is considered qualified by every metric of the law. Additionally, CSS continues to refuse  home studies for those same-sex couples who may be looking to adopt.

The vice president of CSS, James Amato, told the judge that everyone who applies to be a foster parent must submit a letter from the applicant’s clergy declaring them to be ‘religious.’

CSS holds the position that foster care and adoption are not ‘public accommodations’ and so the anti-discrimination law doesn’t apply to them.

But U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker disagreed with CSS and rejected the agency’s arguments saying CSS’s contract with the city to provide services for a fee constitutes a public accommodation.

Moreover, the judge held that CSS’s loss of its contract with the city would not negatively impact foster children as the city “offered evidence showing that the closure of CSS’s intake of new referrals has had little or no effect on the operation of Philadelphia’s foster care system,” Judge Tucker wrote.

Also, the judge pointed to the “clergy letter” requirement and suggested that raised “serious constitutional questions” regarding freedom of religion.

As Think Progress points out, this kind of “religious freedom” defense for justifying LGBTQ discrimination is happening all over the country.

A judge in Michigan is currently hearing arguments over a state law that allows adoption agencies to receive state funding while actively discriminating.

Oklahoma and Kansas have recently enacted similar laws, and House Republicans in Congress recently approved an amendment to a spending bill that would protect adoption agencies that choose to discriminate based on ‘religious beliefs.’

This same week, a federal judge was hearing arguments in the ACLU’s challenge of a Michigan law that guarantees adoption agencies can continue to receive state funding even if they discriminate.

Kansas and Oklahoma recently passed similar laws, and Republicans in Congress also passed an amendment to a funding bill this week that would create a similar license to discriminate for child placement agencies across the country.

 

(h/t Think Progress)

House Panel Approves Anti-LGBTQ Adoption Amendment In Spending Bill

On Wednesday this week, the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ families the ability to adopt a child based on religious objection.

By a vote of 29-23, the committee approved the amendment to a government funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) was the lone Republican to oppose the amendment.

From Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade:

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would bar the federal government and state or localities from denying funds to adoption agencies that have “declined or will decline to provide, facilitate or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs of convictions.”

The measure would empower the secretary of health and human services to withhold 15 percent of federal government funds from state and localities if they penalize adoption agencies for acting on their religious beliefs in terms of child placement.

The language mirrors new laws in several states allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placement into homes, including LGBT households, over religious objections. Currently, nine states - Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas - have adopted similar policies.

In a statement to The Washington Blade, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, Ian Thompson, denounced the amendment on the basis it would anti-LGBT discrimination.

“The ACLU strongly opposes the amendment because it essentially privileges the religious and moral beliefs of providers over the best interest of children who are in their care,” said Thompson.

Thankfully, there’s a strong possibility the amendment won’t survive the legislative process.

The corresponding Senate committee has already approved its version of the bill without the anti-LGBTQ amendment. This means the two bills will have to be hashed out in conference between the two chambers and experts feel the amendment would most likely be stripped out.

The Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta issued this statement:

“House Republicans are pandering to their far-right base at the expense of LGBTQ people and children in need of a home. Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against qualified potential parents.

“Across the country, LGBTQ candidates are running for office and taking a stand against the Trump-GOP agenda, which seeks to roll back the progress we have made. In November, voters will stand together in the face of this bigotry and hate and elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”

Kansas Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill Into State Law

On Friday, Kansas governor Jeff Colyer signed a bill into state law legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons looking to adopt. This news comes just one week after Oklahoma’s governor Mary Fallin signed a similar bill.

Senate Bill 284 enables adoption agencies in Kansas, even those which receive taxpayer funds, to deny children placement into homes with LGBT parents over “religious objections.”

Both houses of the legislature approved the bill this month. 

It’s worth mentioning that technically the law could also permit these agencies to subject LGBT children in foster care to conversion therapy.

According to The Wichita Eagle, Colyer said: “What I want Kansans to know is this is about fairness and that we are protecting everyone. It’s not about discrimination; it’s about fairness. We’re looking after those kids that need a forever home.”

JoDee Winterhof, senior VP of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the bill in a press release: “Kansas now joins Oklahoma as the only states to allow anti-LGBTQ state bills to become law this year. Kansas lawmakers, from the legislature to the governor, are clearly stating that it is more important to them to discriminate against their own constituents than it is to find loving homes for children in need. Make no mistake: this law will harm the kids, families and reputation of this state.” 

Kansas is the ninth state to enact an adoption law permitting agencies to deny placement into homes over religious objections; the others are Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma.

The new adoption law isn’t the only current anti-LGBT law in Kansas. In 2016, former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing student organization’s at public universities in the state to deny membership to LGBT students. Brownback is now United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under the Trump Administration.

Earlier this week, Colyer and six other Republican governors signed a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying president Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for “his transformative efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula."

h/t: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/18/kansas-governor-signs-anti-lgbt-religious-freedom-adoption-law/

Oklahoma's Governor Signs First Anti-LGBTQ Law Of 2018

America - 2018 was doing pretty well when it comes to new legislation and the LGBTQ community. No new state bills attacking the community had been signed into law this year.

Until now.

In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin has put her signature on Senate Bill 1140 which effectively legalizes LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based adoption and foster care agencies which receive public funds.

This is the first new anti-LGBTQ law in the United States in 2018. What a dubious achievement.

The new law makes it legal to deny placing children in LGBTQ homes based on “religious objections.” Simply declaring a religious or moral opposition to same-sex marriage would allow a faith-based agency the legal right to refuse to place a child in same-sex homes.

The legislation could also withhold child placement with single or divorced people if their social status were to offend an adoption agency’s religious beliefs.

LGBTQ advocates quickly criticized the new law.

“It is shameful that Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a patently discriminatory law that targets children,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “Gov. Fallin has cemented her legacy, siding with discrimination and the legislature in throwing kids under the bus to create a ‘license to discriminate’ against LGBTQ Oklahomans.”

And Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, issued a statement which read, in part: “While we are deeply disappointed that Governor Fallin choose to sign discrimination into law, we are more concerned about the children – desperately looking for homes – that will be harmed by this disgraceful legislation.”

“Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: we’ll see you in court!” added Stevenson.

Supporters of the new law say these faith-based agencies will have to shut their doors if forced to place children into LGBT homes.

Currently, five states - Mississippi, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota — have similar laws on the books, although Michigan’s law is being challenged in the federal courts thanks to the ACLU.

Kansas’s governor has a similar anti-LGBTQ adoption bill waiting on his desk.

Couple Devastated After Being Rejected By Foster Agency Because They're Gay

As gay marriage is now legal across all 50 states of America, it seems that the next issue that LGBTQ couples are fighting for is the right to parent.

We’ve already talked about the growing struggle between right wing politicians, LGBTQ couples, and adoption agencies in Georgia (with tv/movie creatives also getting involved), and now it seems a similar struggle is surfacing in Pennsylvania.

The trouble started when a lesbian couple went to an orientation meeting for a foster/adoption agency. Magan Paszko and her wife drove to Elkins Park in Philadelphia to participate, but were quickly told that they weren’t welcome.

“The trainer approached us, and she was really nice, but she told us, ‘I just want to be upfront. This organization has never placed a child with a same-sex couple,” Paszko told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “She told us she didn’t want to waste two hours of our time.”

It seems that Bethany Christian Services, the agency Paszko and her wife were applying to, and another agency called Catholic Social Services have a strict policy of rejecting LGBTQ parents.

While the Bethany Christian Services was “polite” in its rejection and gave the names of other agencies, their act does nothing but harm Philadelphia children desperately in need of a home.

Philadelphia is currently seeking out more people to become foster parents, yet Christian organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services are rejecting LGBTQ people who want nothing more than to help.

Outside of talk of discrimination and going against the needs of children, this act is also against government policy.

 

 

As Mary Catherine Roper, the deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told the Inquirer:

 “A government doesn’t get to use a contractor to implement religious programs and when you start saying, ‘We’re running this as a religious program such that we won’t take you because you don’t fit our religious view,’ then the city is paying for a religious program, and that’s a problem under the First Amendment.”

On top of that, Bethany Christian Services collected $1.3 million from the government last year for operating foster homes covering 170 children. Thus, the government is financially backing this organization that’s used religion as its focus for the past 75 years.

On top of this, there seems to also be a layer of hypocrisy in Bethany’s actions.

Due to Pennsylvania’s state code, LGBTQ children can’t be discriminated against by foster/adoption agencies. This has led to Christian organizations like Bethany working with LGBTQ youth while later rejecting LGBTQ adults.

In response to all this, Currey Cook, the head of Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-home Care Project, said:

“How do you pretend you can simultaneously say we serve all youth and do a good job serving all youth while at the same time you’re saying same-sex couples are not real parents, are not good parents?” Cook said. “LGBT youth who have faced so much isolation, stigma, prejudice in the system are left wondering, ‘What’s going to happen if I come out, and I’m being served by parents or an agency that basically says trans parents, LGBT people, aren’t good parents?'”

As the Inquirer reports, Paszko and her wife are now in the process of becoming foster parents with the help of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, but they can't help feeling distraught by the earlier rejection.

h/t: The Philadelphia Inquirer

TV Show Producers Threaten To Boycott If Georgia Passes Its Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

TV makers are taking a stand against a ridiculous religious freedom bill.

As we reported a couple days ago, some politicians within the American state of Georgia are trying to pass a religious freedom bill. If passed, State Senate Bill 375, or the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” would let adoption agencies use their religious beliefs as an excuse to reject gay couples looking to adopt.

The official reasoning for this bill is that it's to protect adoption agencies from being discriminated and persecuted for not approving of gay couples and gay parents.

That said, many have pointed out that no such problems have been reported by adoption agencies. As such, the bill is just an excuse to open a window for discriminating against gay people, and making adoption harder for them.

Despite those protests in the State Senate, the bill ultimately passed on a vote of 35-19. Now, its on its way to the State House of Representatives.

In the meantime, showrunners and producers of popular tv shows are saying they might pull their show productions from the state as a result.

Atlanta, Georgia has become a major spot for Hollywood productions. Not only do multiple tv shows like Queer Eye, The Walking Dead, and Black Lightening, film there, but major movies like Black Panther film there as well.

Due to this, Georgia makes about $7 billion a year from productions and filming. But, all that could come crumbling down thanks to Bill 375 and the words of Ben Wexler.

Ben Wexler is a producer who’s worked on shows like The Grinder, Community, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Arrested Development.

After hearing about Georgia State Senate Bill 375, Wexler tweeted out the following, “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.”

Soon, other tv executives/creatives like Difficult People creator Julie Klausner, Difficult People star Billy Eichner, Starz’s Spartacus creator Steven DeKinght, and When We Rise creator Dustin Lance Black were agreeing with Wexler.

 

In addition, many have asked the creators of the Walking Dead, which is probably the biggest tv show filmed in Georgia, and Marvel Studios to share their thoughts on the situation.

Meanwhile, many LGBTQ advocates are expressing how unjust Bill 375 really is. For instance, Marty Rouse, who’s the national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, said:

“Plain and simple – SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem.”

“It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home.”