University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Stewart v. Heineman PB-NE-0003
Docket / Court CI 13-3157 ( State Court )
State/Territory Nebraska
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On August 27, 2013, plaintiffs, same-sex couples in Nebraska, filed suit in the District Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska against the Nebraska Department of Human Services and the Nebraska Division of Children and Family Services. Plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU, sued under 42 ... read more >
On August 27, 2013, plaintiffs, same-sex couples in Nebraska, filed suit in the District Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska against the Nebraska Department of Human Services and the Nebraska Division of Children and Family Services. Plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU, sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Nebraska constitution seeking declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the Department of Human Services from continuing its policy of denying foster parent licenses to gay and lesbian individuals and couples.

Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that under Nebraska's policy for the adoption of foster children, individuals who identify as homosexual are categorically denied the ability to adopt children from State custody regardless of their ability to care for the child. Plaintiffs argue that the policy, laid out in a memo by the Defendant, should be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny. This policy, plaintiffs allege, fails the heightened level of scrutiny because it is a blanket exclusion of a class of individuals based solely on their sexual orientation and does not rationally relate to the furtherance of a legitimate state interest.

On April 24, 2014, Judge John A. Colborn denied defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The court found that the disparate impact between state adoption agencies who prohibit same-sex couples from becoming foster parents, and state-licensed private adoption agencies who allow same-sex adoption, is sufficient evidence on which to base an equal protection claim.

According to the ACLU website (https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/stewart-and-stewart-v-heineman), the case is ongoing.

Patrick Branson - 03/23/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Nebraska Division of Children and Family Services
State of Nebraska
Plaintiff Description Gay and Lesbian individuals and couples who wish to be licensed as foster parents in Nebraska.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Complaint 08/27/2013
PB-NE-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Order 04/24/2014
PB-NE-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Judges Colborn, John A. (State Trial Court)
PB-NE-0003-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Miller, Amy A. (Nebraska)
PB-NE-0003-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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