A monumental decision: Nebraska lifts ban on gay marriage

On Monday, March 2, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon made a monumental move by abolishing Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage.

But the victory was short-lived. After Bataillon’s decision, some Nebraska state officials appealed to the 8th Circuit District Court of Appeals.

Bataillon denied the state’s request to stay his decision. Hopefully, starting Monday, March 9, everyone will be able to get married in Nebraska.

This is a step in the right direction for this conservative state. 37, now 38, states allow same-sex couples to marry.

If this decision holds up, I will have the opportunity to witness my friend, Kyle, get married to his fiancé, Dustin. The two have been together for more than four years now and after hearing them talk about what state to go to in order to be married, it’s exciting to know that they can plan the wedding of their dreams and get married in their home state.

Along the same lines, Nebraska welfare officials have lifted the 20-year-old ban on gay/lesbian couples being foster parents. The policy had gone into effect in 1995, when the director at the time outlined it in an administrative memo. Specifically, it denied unmarried, unrelated adults from fostering children. Because of the state’s ban on gay marriage and its refusal to acknowledge an out-of-state union, fostering children for gay couples was all but outright outlawed. The only other state to have a similar policy is Utah.

Officials will no longer consider the sexual orientation of a person when they seek to foster or adopt children. The state of Nebraska was one of the two states that restricted LGBT couples from fostering children. Utah only allows married LGBT couples to foster children in the system.

More than a staggering 400,000 children are in the foster system on any given day. In Nebraska alone, upwards of 6,300 children are in the foster care system.