The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

June 11, 2009

Court sides with same-sex couple in adoption case

The state Supreme Court has sided with a same-sex couple who sought to prevent a judge from removing one of their foster children because they were not a “traditional” family.

In an unsigned opinion released Friday, the court granted Kathryn Kutil’s and Cheryl Hess’ petition for a writ of prohibition against Fayette County Circuit Judge Paul Blake’s 2008 order that the 19-month-old girl whom the petitioners began caring for soon after her birth be placed in a foster home with a mother and father until she was officially adopted.

Blake agreed with Thomas Fast, the little girl’s guardian ad litem, who had argued that it could be detrimental to the girl’s mental well-being to be raised, either short term or long term, in a household consisting of homosexuals.

Blake granted Fast’s motion to remove the girl over objections from both the petitioners and the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

The girl, identified in court documents only as B.G.C., was born in December 2007 to a drug-addicted mother. The newborn had cocaine and oxycodone in her system, physicians said. The biological mother failed two improvement periods offered by the DHHR, which gained custody of the girl shortly after she was born.

The girl came to live with Kutil and Hess just weeks after her birth. When the biological mother’s parental rights were terminated on Oct. 8, a team met to discuss what to do with the little girl. All the members of the team agreed that she should remain in the Kutil and Hess home until she was officially adopted. Fast, the guardian ad litem, was the only member who didn’t agree, the opinion says.

DHHR adoption officials also expressed reluctance to uproot B.G.C. from the only home she had ever known. While adoption was the best course of action, the team found, the DHHR also noted that the petitioners had expressed interest in adopting the girl and gave a list of reasons why the home was appropriate.

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