Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage

Iowa Couple Wins Legal Malpractice Suit After Adoption Messup

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Rachel and Heidi McFarland were in the process of adopting a child when their baby was suddenly reclaimed by his biological parents. In a tragic twist, the baby was then murdered by one of the biological parents just five weeks later. While nothing would totally heal the wounds of the to-be adoptive parents, the McFarlands have gone on to win a $3.25 million malpractice suit against their lawyer, Jason Rieper, who was allegedly negligent in handling the severing of parental rights during the adoption process which led to the baby being taken away from them. “The release of custody never got signed by either birth parent. Obviously our child and us weren’t a priority to [Rieper]. We are just happy he was found negligent,” was how Rachel McFarland characterized it.

This was the culmination of a suit filed in August 2014, which in turn began when Gabriel, their baby, was born in December 2013. The McFarlands had arranged for 16-year-old Markeya Atkins, the daughter of a coworker of Rachel’s, to serve as their surrogate. “We coached her through labor. I cut the umbilical cord. He was in our arms and care the second he was born,” Rachel McFarland said. However, three months later, Atkins exercised her right to reclaim the baby, which was possible since Rieper had failed to sever the parental rights in the adoption process. Rieper’s attorney, David Brown, disputes this telling, saying that Rieper was not negligent and that Atkins’ emotions are the true culprit here. “You can’t control the emotion of a birth mom, and you can’t control the emotions of a 16-year-old birth mom. At the end, [Atkins] wasn’t going to do it and the suggestion that [Rieper] was to force her to do it would be unethical for him,” Brown claims. Brown went as far as to say “forcing” her to sign away the rights would have been “inappropriate”.

The McFarlands discovered that Gabriel had passed away by way of the local news five weeks after giving up their child. The McFarlands say they soon received a written report that the baby was found dead, and they had to confirm it via text to Atkins’ mother. According to Rachel, Heidi reacted by screaming. Gabriel was discovered dead on April 22, 2014 when Atkins arrived at her apartment and found the baby “alone, pale, wet and foaming from his mouth and nose,” as she told the Des Moines Register. An investigation later revealed head trauma was the cause of the baby’s death. Drew James Weehler-Smith, Gabriel’s birth father, was charged with taking care of the baby while Atkins was out. Weehler-Smith has since plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence.

Since then, Atkins has attempted to justify her reclaiming of Gabriel saying that she was worried the McFarlands were pushing her out of the baby’s life. “It’s like after I gave the baby to them, they didn’t care,” Atkins said. She also affirms that she had grown to love her baby very much. As for the McFarlands, they were approached by someone else offering up their baby for adoption, and they are currently raising a daughter named Vienna, although they continue to mourn the loss of Gabriel.

Wyoming Judge Faces Removal for Refusing Same-Sex Marriages

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Ruth Neely Town of Pinedale

“When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made,” she told the Pinedale Roundup.

In a letter to the state’s judicial ethics advisory committee, she wrote, “Homosexuality is a named sin in the Bible, as are drunkenness, thievery, lying, and the like. I can no more officiate at a same-sex wedding than I can buy beer for the alcoholic.”

Related:

Alabama Chief Justice Defends Anti-Gay Marriage Memo

Her lawyer told the court that she’s being unconstitutionally punished for her religious views.

But the state judicial conduct board found that she violated ethics rules requiring judges to follow the law, avoid the appearance of impropriety, and perform duties fairly, without bias or prejudice.

“Judges do not enjoy the same freedom to proselytize their religious beliefs as ordinary citizens,” the commission said, finding that her public statements amount to a conclusion that “adherence to the law is optional.”

Because she violated ethics rules, the commission said, she should not be allowed to remain in her other job as a municipal court judge in Pinedale.

Related:

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, Who Refused to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gays, Seeks to End Case

Urging the justices to allow Neely to remain on the bench, her lawyer said the commission “has adopted an extreme position. It claims that because Judge Neely’s religious beliefs prevent her from solemnizing same-sex marriage, she cannot be a judge in Wyoming, even in a position that does not have authority to perform marriages.”

She would tell any same-sex couple where they could find a magistrate to handle their wedding and would treat all gay and lesbian people in her courtroom fairly, her lawyer said.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, most local officials, including judges, have complied. While some county clerks refused to issue marriage licenses on religious grounds — most visibly, Kim Davis in Kentucky — clerks and judges have generally treated gay and lesbian couples no differently.

Only North Carolina and Utah have laws in effect that permit local officials to opt out, on religious grounds, of involvement with same-sex weddings. Judicial ethics commissions in Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin have voted to sanction judges for refusing to officiate at same-sex marriages.

The Wyoming Supreme Court said it would issue a written ruling later on Ruth Neely’s appeal. For now, her authority to act as a local magistrate has been suspended, though she is still serving as the Pinedale town judge.

Source: NBC News

Kim Davis and Same-Sex Marriage

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Most of the United States rejoiced after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land. Many who issued marriage licenses throughout the nation said they would comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling even though it went against their own religious beliefs. However, Kim Davis, a Rowen County Circuit Court clerk from Kentucky made her defiance known as she became the martyr for traditional marriage and religious freedom backers all across the nation.

Marriage Equality

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50 years ago in the United States, homosexual residents began their cry for equal treatment under the law. In the 1970’s, the courts in this nation wouldn’t even think of hearing cases regarding the rights of homosexuals in this country let along any arguments regarding the legality of their relationships.The movement keep going and gained more and more traction as the homosexual community wished to have their relationships viewed in the same manner as heterosexual relationships.