#StandSpeakWinLove

The Beehive Stand

VIII. Adjustment.

For all the complaints we hear from conservatives about judicial activism, what are we to think? Yet for all the jokes we might make about Utah, all eyes turn to the Beehive State. This week a juvenile court judge ignored the will of a birth mother, the recommendations of the state’s Division of Child and Family Services, the office of the Guardian Ad Litem, and, as near as anyone can tell, Utah statute when he ordered a nine month-old removed from the home of certified foster parents April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce because he alleges scientific data that he will not provide demonstrates children will fare better under heterosexual parents.

The State of Utah does not seem inclined to agree, and is fighting back:

Utah state officials are challenging a decision made by a Utah judge to a take a baby away from lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple for the child’s well-being.

Utah Division of Child and Family Services officials said Thursday in a statement that they will fight the ruling at the appeals court if Judge Scott Johansen doesn’t rescind his decision.

The state agency said the judge went against its recommendation that the 9-month old baby should stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple in Price, Utah.

In his decision, Johansen mentioned research that shows children do better when raised by heterosexual families, state officials said. However, the American Psychological Association has said there’s no scientific basis for believing that gays and lesbians are unfit parents based on sexual orientation.

(McCombs and Price)

(more…)

Justice (Northern Flicker)

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, with son Khaya, in court at Mobile, Alabama, 24 July 2015, after Visiting Judge James Reid approved an intrafamily adoption petition.  Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange protested the Searcy-McKeand marriage all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  (Detail of photo from Let Love Define Family)

This is why:

Imagine sitting at your critically ill son’s bedside with your wife, watching the life ebb from the infant’s tiny body. Your baby is losing weight and desperately needs a feeding tube to sustain him until he receives an open-heart surgery, his only hope for survival, that is still two weeks away.

Your wife, upset and emotional, is unable to learn how to insert the tube. She is bullied by nurses and becomes hysterical so you step in and volunteer to take her place. But, because you are also a woman and living in a state with arcane marriage and adoption laws, you are denied. You are told, “You are not his mother.”

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand of Mobile, Alabama, didn’t have to imagine this nightmare, because they had to live it. First they were stunned, then they were furious. And then they waged war against those arcane laws and changed history when they won.

(Hallstrom and Nichols)

And last month, on 24 July, Cari Searcy, whose name might ring a bell, and her wife Kim McKeand, went before Visiting Judge James Reid―sitting in for the infamous Probate Judge Don Davis―to receive approval for an intrafamily adoption. Khaya’s mothers are now both legally his mothers.

And this is why. Stand, speak, fight, win. Love. Live.

For all these years of fighting, Cari and Kim and Khaya now begin their adventure anew. It is our honor to bear witness, that this family should triumph over harmful and hateful Alabama “values”.

This is what Attorney General Luther Strange sued to stop. This is what even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could see when he conceded the inevitability of marriage equalityα. This is why Chief Justice Roy Moore would refuse the U.S. Constitution, and Probate Judge Don Davis choose derelection. This is why Alabama would disgrace itself.

This family.

____________________

Image note: Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, with son Khaya, in court at Mobile, Alabama, 24 July 2015, after Visiting Judge James Reid approved an intrafamily adoption petition. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange protested the Searcy-McKeand marriage all the way to the United States Supreme Court. (Detail of photo from Let Love Define Family)

α From Justice Thomas’ dissent in Strange v. Searcy, in which the Court majority denied the State of Alabama stay against recognizing the same-sex marriage of Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand: “In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months.”

Hallstrom, Beth. “Here’s How Two Women Changed The Lives Of LGBT Families In Alabama Forever”. Ed. JamesMichael Nichols. The Huffington Post. 8 August 2015.

Thomas, Clarence. “On Application for Stay”. Strange v. Searcy. Supreme Court of the United States. 9 February 2015.

Justice

People celebrate inside the Stonewall Inn, an iconic gay bar recently granted historic landmark status, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Today.

This is our honor.

• There is, of course, the decision itself: Obergefell v. Hodges (14-556)

• Or perhaps a headline: “Gay Marriage Supporters Win Supreme Court Victory”

• The author: “Kennedy: The Gay Marriage Justice”

• Another headline, this one somewhat overstated: “Texas Pastor Says He Will Set Himself On Fire In Protest Over Gay Marriage”

• Dissents or temper tantrums? “‘Ask the nearest hippie’: The conservative SCOTUS justices’ opinions on marriage equality are hilariously bitter”

• And why not ask a hippie? “We Asked the Nearest Hippie About Scalia: It Was David Crosby”

• Unfit for duty: “To avoid marrying gay couples, some Alabama counties have stopped marrying everyone”

• GOP presidential timber, part one: “Constitutional Remedies to a Lawless Supreme Court”

• Fifty-four years, cookie dough, and Stonewall celebrations: “From Ice Cream To Ian McKellen: Reactions To Same-Sex Marriage Ruling”

• GOP presidential timber, part two: “Jindal: ‘Let’s just get rid of the court'”

• GOP presidential timber, part three: “Scott Walker calls for Constitutional amendment to let states define marriage”

• What a real President of the United States sounds like: “Remarks by the President on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality”

I would at this time raise a glass to homophobic traditionalists from Sea to Shining Sea; without your dedicated, horrifying zeal, we might never have come this far. Indeed, your own cruelty and hatred shepherded this day.

Drink up, dreamers of hatred and supremacism; you’re running dry.

Then again, we also know you’re nowhere near finished, at least in your own minds. We’re here. We will hold the line. We know you’re targeting children, now, and we will hold the line.

____________________

Image note: People celebrate inside the Stonewall Inn, an iconic gay bar recently granted historic landmark status, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Hope

Avery Jackson, 7, confidently explains the world in her own unique way. (YouTube, 6 May 2015)

Hello, Avery!

With her first “Avery Chat” video, Avery Jackson shared the story of her transition. In the video, she explains how she knew that she was a girl, the fear she had about telling her parents about her transgender identity, and then how she eventually shared her identity with her parents. In a four-minute video, Avery shares a personal story that echoes the pride she has in who she is. Viewers will be swept away by the bravery and wisdom that this little girl displays.

† † †

Despite the fact that Debi Jackson, Avery’s mother, had never heard of the term “transgender” before a Google search, she and her husband, Tom, have supported their daughter throughout her transition. They took Avery to a child psychologist when Avery announced her gender identity and then took the psychologist’s advice: Let her be a girl.

Their love and support has been unwavering toward their daughter and because of it they’ve lost friends and family members, but have made lasting friendships with people across six continents and have done so much for other trans children by just supporting and loving their own.

(Temblador)

There is that part of us that looks across at Texas with a smirk of satisfaction: Oh, the generation that rises!

Those who disapprove have no idea who they’re dealing with.

But that is for another day, and maybe we can put it to rest for Avery and all her young brothers and sisters. You know, we can’t pin all our hopes on future generations.

But for now, yes: And we are so amazed.

Thank you, Avery! The world needs a bit of your sunshine right now.

And a note to Tom and Debi Jackson: Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. Really, words fail. But thank you for standing by Avery, and thank you so much for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

#StandSpeakWinLove

____________________

Image note: Avery Jackson, 7, confidently explains the world in her own unique way. (YouTube, 6 May 2015).

Temblador, Alex. “Why We Love 7-Year-Old Transgender Activist, Avery Jackson, And Her Incredible Family”. The Huffington Post. 21 May 2015.