Thursday, April 12, 2007


Gay couple sues Adoption.comAssociated PressThursday Apr 12, 2007

More than three years after an internet adoption site refused to allow a gay couple to post their profile, a federal judge allowed the pair’s discrimination lawsuit to go to trial.U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton rejected arguments that had free speech rights to exclude same-sex couples from its paid listings, which are designed to match birth mothers with qualified parents."Plaintiffs are not seeking to place any restrictions on what defendants are permitted to say or to compel them to say anything," Hamilton wrote in an 81-page ruling issued March 30. "It is the discriminatory conduct that is at issue here - defendants’ refusal to do business with the plaintiffs."In allowing the lawsuit to go to trial in June, Hamilton also dismissed the company’s claim that California anti-bias policies did not apply because is based in Tempe, Ariz., where state laws don’t bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status.Glen Lavy, a lawyer for, said Tuesday he was surprised by the judge’s position that California law could control "what an Arizona company publishes on its website that is based in Arizona, that someone from California cannot visit without asking for the information from an Arizona server."San Jose residents Michael Butler, 40, and Richard Butler, 35, sued and its owners, Nathan and Dale Gwilliam, in December 2003 after the application to join the site was rejected.The couple, who have been together for 12 years and changed surnames to share the same last name, have since adopted a daughter, now 3 years old, through an adoption agency. But becoming parents has not dimmed their enthusiasm for pursuing the case against, Richard Butler said."It’s really much more emotional now, more important than ever that people who want to be parents and jump through all the hurdles be given equal opportunity," he said. "Anybody who is a parent will understand it’s the best thing we have done in our lives."Hamilton’s decision was significant because’s policies affect same-sex couples across the country, said attorney Minter, who is legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights."They are the biggest internet company based on that service. They have a near monopoly," he said. "They do more business with people in California than any other state. It’s outrageous they do so much business in California with complete disregard for California law."The ruling also sets a precedent for California residents who feel they have been discriminated against for other reasons, such as race or religion, in their dealings with companies that operate over the Internet, according to Minter.Currently, Utah and Florida are the only states that do not allow gay couples to adopt children, while several others limit adoption to married couples.The case is Butler v. Adoption Media

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