Michael Butler and Rich Butler, a gay couple from San Jose, have got approval to go ahead with a discrimination suit against an adoption web site.
Phyllis J. Hamilton, the US District Court Judge who handed down this ruling, decided that the web site’s alleged discriminating of the Butlers, and of gay couples in general, was not in line with the anti-discrimination laws in the state of California.
In 2002, the site refused to put up the Butlers’ request to be parents.
The couple is being represented jointly by the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, and Neel Chatterjee from the firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, according to the Bay Area Reporter.
The site is owned by Nathan Gwilliam and Dale Gwilliam, his father, both of whom are Mormon.
Glen Lavy, the lawyer representing the father and son, told the Bay Area Reporter that his clients think a kid needs a father and a mother.
“Our clients concluded several years ago based on the social science research that children need a mom and a dad,” he said.
Sexual orientation, says Lavy, doesn’t factor in. “If a homosexual man married a lesbian, they simply would not be asking the question, ‘What is your sexual orientation?’ It would not be an issue.”
The Gwilliams also argued that California’s laws regarding consumer dealings don’t apply to the Arizona-based Adoption.com, or to a company that has the right of free speech.
The National Centre for Lesbian Rights told the Bay Area Reporter that Hamilton’s decision to move the case forward is important.
“It means that companies that do business with California residents on the Internet cannot discriminate against LGBT couples and have to comply with all other aspects of California anti-discrimination law,” National Centre for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter said.
“It’s actually an emerging issue across the country whether Internet businesses have to comply with state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws. So this is a very big victory.”
The court date for this case will be released toward the end of April.
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