The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

WV High Court Says Married Moms and Dads Irrelevant to Adopted Children

with 21 comments

Justices rule emotional interests more important than state law and best interests of child determined by officials and lower court

CHARLESTON, W.V. — The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Friday reversed the decision of a circuit court judge that found it was not in the best interests of a child to be placed in a home that had no hope of ever having a married mom and dad. The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to uphold the simple and clear design of West Virginia law to place children in homes with a married mom and dad.

“The law is clearly designed to place foster and adoptive children into homes with a married mom and dad,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. “The high court was required to prove that the lower court violated the law in its decision. It did not prove that, so there was absolutely no legitimate reason to ignore that legislative directive.”

“This court has placed the emotional desires of two adults above the best interests of the child as stipulated by state law,” said Dys. “Foster parenting is, by definition, a temporary arrangement with no guarantee or promise of adoption. Couples who do not qualify as adoptive parents should not expect to become adoptive parents.”

Despite overwhelming evidence from social science that children do best when placed in the home of a married mom and dad, the court’s opinion found that West Virginia law expresses no preference for foster or adoptive homes where a mom and dad are both present, despite the conclusion of state officials and a lower court judge who found otherwise. The Supreme Court’s decision ignored the fact that the two cohabitating women in this case illegitimately applied to adopt the child as a couple. Instead, the court chose to conclude that there is “no legal differentiation between categories of eligible candidates for adoption” under current West Virginia law.

“It’s silly that our Supreme Court would see the plain language of the law as ambiguous, but if that’s their determination, then the legislature should respond by creating an even more clear directive that the court cannot possibly ignore.”

A copy of the court’s decision can be downloaded from

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.


Written by Jeremy Dys

June 5, 2009 at 5:57 pm

21 Responses

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  1. When there are enough foster and adoptive parents that fit your ideal, then you can complain. Until then, it’s better that children be placed in a stable home, even if it is headed by an unmarried adult, or a same-sex couple. You commit the grave sin of demanding the perfect at the expense of the good.


    June 5, 2009 at 6:55 pm

  2. In this case, there were more than just this couple willing to so care and/or adopt. The WV DHHR intentionally chose this couple to willingly advance a political agenda at the expense of a child’s life.

    Jeremy Dys

    June 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm

  3. Jeremy,

    First of all, could you please supply a link to a peer-reviewed scientific study conducted within the past 20 years or so that supports your claim that same-sex couples are inferior as parents? All of the studies I’ve read about say the exact opposite. For instance, check out this article on the Child Welfare League of America’s website:

    Second, why do you hate gay people so much? Your dislike of our community is blind and irrational, and I just don’t understand it. All we want to do is be free to love one another and, maybe, raise a family like any other couple. I think you need to sit back and focus your life on love instead of hate.

    Third, your headline completely distorts the court’s decision. Surely you can do better, yes?

    P.S. Will you be joining us at the gay pride parade in Charleston on Sunday?


    June 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    • DanielC73,

      after commanding peer-reviewed literature, you cite the CWLA article. But that does not bear any hallmarks of being such.

      Jim Henderson

      June 6, 2009 at 12:02 pm

  4. Ok.


    That should get you started.

    I regret that you have chosen to perceive any of our comments as “hateful.” Clearly we disagree on this issue. Same-sex behavior is immoral, unhealthy, and unwise and thus I am compelled to oppose it. If you ever have a desire to leave the lifestyle, I’d be glad to walk out of it beside you. Until then, I will do my best to disagree with a civil tongue and hope you’ll join me in that commitment.

    I’m sorry I cannot make the parade on Sunday. If something changes, I’ll come observe. Though, I’m not even sure when it begins. If you have time, you are most welcome to fellowship with us at church that morning.

    Jeremy Dys

    June 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

  5. What Daniel said.
    Plus, Mr. Dys, nothing like not including even general information about this child and hers or his parents, so I will.

    “The child had originally been placed in foster care with Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess after being born to a drug addicted mother in late 2007. The Department of Health and Human Resources had approved the couple for foster care.

    The lesbian couple now has custody of the young girl pending the outcome of the appeal the state Supreme Court is considering.

    In the appeal, attorneys for the couple say the Fayette County judge is setting a ‘dangerous precedent’ for discriminatory treatment of nontraditional families.

    What would Jesus do, Mr. “so-called” christain?


    June 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

  6. Mr. Dys, just how much is James Dobson paying you to lie for Jesus?


    June 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

  7. That’s funny, Mr. Dys. The first link you provided to support your assertion that gays make lousy parents actually concludes that “there is no systematic difference between gay and nongay parents in emotional health, parenting skills, and attitudes toward parenting.” Thanks for the plug.

    For the record, I’m a lesbian. I was born that way, my straight parents didn’t make me gay. I did not choose to be gay; I didn’t choose to be a second class citizen. Because I want, deserve and am entitled to full equality under the law, I will act equal and your hateful words and acts will not bring me down.

    Enjoy your weekend. Hope to see you at the gay pride festival. It begins around 1pm at Davis Park, downtown Charleston.


    June 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    • That’s odd, I looked at the links and found this to be the conclusion:

      “Most of the gay parenting literature thus compares children in some fatherless families to children in other fatherless family forms. The results may be relevant for some legal policy debates (such as custody disputes) but, in our opinion, they are not designed to shed light on family structure per se, and cannot credibly be used to contradict the current weight of social science: family structure matters, and the family structure that is most protective a child well-being is the intact, married biological family. Children do best when raised by their own married mother and father.”

      Jim Henderson

      June 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

  8. Hahaha … leave the lifestyle? In the language of the streets, what crack are you smoking? It has nothing to do with my “lifestyle,” which varies little from other middle class West Virginians. It has to do with the gender of the people I’m attracted to romantically. You really buy into that ex-gay nonsense? A person can change his or her behavior, but not who they really are inside. Have you even read what the American Psychological Association says about that sort of thing? “Same sex behavior,” whatever that means, is just fine. What exactly makes it unhealthy and immoral, pray tell?

    I’ll take time to look at these links you cite when I have a chance. I’m pretty busy with the Pride Week festivities this weekend.

    And yes, it is hate. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Bigotry against GLBT Americans is no different than bigotry against any other minority. And the unequal treatment of gays and lesbians in a country where, supposedly, all men are created equal, can be called nothing but injustice. I know one thing … at least if a kid has two gay parents, then he or she has a lot better chance of being accepted than if they were raised in a close-minded Evangelical household where they’d likely either be thrown out or forced into some “ex-gay” quack shrink’s sexual re-education program.

    If I want to fellowship with real Christians, I’ll go to a church such as Asbury United Methodist or St John’s Episcopal, where they don’t espouse anti-gay bigotry. You missed our (Rainbow Pride’s) interfaith worship service on Monday, I suppose?

    Here’s a link you should check out, concerning this year’s “Power of One” award recipient, the Reverend Jim Lewis, former rector of St John’s. This is essentially his biography. Witness how he expresses the love of Christ through his good works, Mr. Dys, rather than spewing hatred in the name of “family values.”


    June 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    • Actually, you don’t get to define the term “hate.”

      In our home we have rules. When one of those rules limits a choice my young teenage daughter would make, she reacts quite emotionally and says, “you hate me, you don’t want me to be happy.”

      But nothing is further from the truth. I love her and want her to be happy. She just has to learn that there are limits, rules and reasons.

      Same for the SSM debate. The determination to limit marriage to opposite sex couples is neither about hate nor about religion. It is, however, about preservation of social structures most suited to the healthy (socially, mentally, emotionally) rearing of children, and, in turn, social preservation entirely.

      So you may hate me for standing against the movement to destroy the legal construct of marriage. You may hate me for opposing legalization of same sex marriage. But you are wrong when you accuse me of hating you. I don’t even know you.

      Jim Henderson

      June 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

      • When you can show me how the 50%+ divorce rate for heterosexual couples is “most suited to the healthy (socially, mentally, emotionally) rearing of children, and, in turn, social preservation entirely”, get back to me.

        The legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable. Mob rule does not determine law in the United States.


        June 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      • First of all, if you think that sexuality is a “choice,” then you’re far more concerned than any gay person I know. When precisely did you choose to be heterosexual, Jim? I pity your daughter if she should happen to be a lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Thankfully I grew up in a home where my parents loved me for who I am, not for some abstract notion of who they wanted me to be.

        And your assertion that “you don’t even know me” holds very little water. Not to compare your organization to theirs, but I doubt that most skinheads really know any African-Americans. That doesn’t make the Aryan Nation (or whatever it’s called these days) any less of a hate group. Most Islamic Fundamentalists have probably never even met a Jew …

        If hate is too strong a word for you, then what do you call it when an organization, right here in the United States — home of the free, exists apparently for the sole purpose of singling out a minority group with the aim of attempting to deny that group full civil equality under the law? Intolerance at best.


        June 7, 2009 at 8:44 am

      • That first sentence should read “confused” … darn spell-check.


        June 7, 2009 at 8:45 am

  9. This court has placed the emotional desires of two adults above the best interests of the child as stipulated by state law,” President Jeremy Dys said in a statement.

    Perhaps you should rethink your position that the best interests of a child who has been with this family for the majority of her life according to information put forth – having been placed with them following her birth to a drug addicted mother. Are you to suggest that if the drug addicted mother were married, it would be more appropraite to place her in the home of her birth parents? Just trying to carry your position to a conclusion.

    There is much written about the issue of bonding and attachment. In the 18 months of this child’s life – her bonding and attachment has had to be with the women who are raising her. Stating that she could not be adopted by one of the women at this time or whenever parental rights are terminated is a misrepresentation of the truth. At some point in time, the women might be able to participate in the same rights provided the “moral” (your charcaterization, not mine) people in having their relationship recognized and then allow the child to be adopted by both parents. Removing her from the family to which she has bonded would be very difficult for her . . .and yes, I imagine for the women who care for her. But ignoring her bonding and attachment to further your arguement and charge only adult interest are being considered is picking and choosing the representations to bouy your position.

    And speaking of choosing – I must also raise objection to your characterization of gays and lesbians as a “choice.” I am baffled daily by this view. I am not able to comprehend how an individual gets up one morning and makes a choice to be distanced from their families, their faith communities, and society in general, to be the brunt of many hate-filled diatribes and yes, in some crcumstances, even killed because of this “choice.” Several beloved members of my family did not make this choice and yet they face this hatred daily.

    As long as we are posting links to materials that could provide enlightment the positions taken, might I suggest you visit:

    I am constantly reminded that much of the venomous atmosphere related to the this issue equals that experienced in the civil rights movement. You might have missed school the day when the use of Scripture to support the dehumanization of slaves, or perhaps missed the sermon about staying in an abusive marriage to follow church teachings based on Scripture. Over time, the folly of these interpretations has become evident. I believe that society’s current persecution of same sex couples will also come to be seen for what it is. . . merely another attempt to dehumanize those who we do not seek to understand.


    June 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

  10. Here’s a link I thought y’all might find of interest. Be sure to read the entry for Saturday, June 6th.


    June 7, 2009 at 9:06 am

  11. Wrong. The Court said that the loving family in which the child has been his entire life is a far better situation than throwing him into the mess that is the WV foster care system. A family is what you make it, not some cookie-cutter template.

    You’d really rather this child be removed from the only family he’s ever known? Bigotry (yes, bigotry, stop using that “it’s what the Bible says” nonsense) knows no bounds. The Bible doesn’t define life for all of us, nor does it apply to all of us. Keep it to yourselves.

    Some Guy

    June 10, 2009 at 2:35 am

  12. Excuse me, I referred to the child as a ‘he’. Her.

    Some Guy

    June 10, 2009 at 2:38 am

  13. […] Family Policy Council of West Virginia: The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Friday reversed the decision of a circuit court judge that found it was not in the best interests of a child to be placed in a home that had no hope of ever having a married mom and dad. The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to uphold the simple and clear design of West Virginia law to place children in homes with a married mom and dad. […]

  14. And I suppose you and other organizations that purport to not preach hatred of individuals who are gay will likewise take no responsibility for how your messages are interpreted by the numerous teenagers and other who sit in your congregations and result in the type of behavior reported in the following link. If you want to understand why parents, friend and other family members have joined together to attempt to end discrimination based on sexualk orientation, imagine this was your child being verbally assualted in this manner.


    July 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm

  15. What I am going to tell you is the absolute truth. My son is now 31.This happened when he was 7:
    There was a handsome man in our apt complex that lived with another man. He got custody of his beautiful 7 yr old daughter when the mother of the child got busted for drugs and was sent to prison.
    The kids in the n’borhood included an 11 yr old that looked like a adult, the rest were from 6 to 11 yr olds. They had all been in the sandlot playing ball when I last checked on my son…then my son came running in obviously upset about something. I finally get him to tell me what had happened. The little 7 yr old girl had all the boys come to her house, line up, remove their pants while she performed oral sex on them. My son said when it was his turn he ran out.
    This was a beautiful little seven year old. I reported what had happened to the other mothers. One of the boys’ father was a it was reported to DSS so I don’t know the outcome of what happened.


    March 15, 2010 at 2:44 am

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