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Gay Adoption Questions Prompted By Topeka Child Abuse Case

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The recent arrest of a Topeka couple on child abuse charges is raising questions about a custody battle that some say illustrates a pattern of discrimination against gays seeking to adopt.

The 2014 custody case pitted a same-sex couple from Wichita against Jonathan and Allison Schumm, the Topeka couple now facing child abuse charges. Jonathan Schumm is a member of the Topeka City Council.

The Wichita couple--social workers Lisa and Tesa Hines--were married in California before moving to Kansas. They wanted to adopt a baby girl that they had been caring for as foster parents since she was five days old.

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Credit City of Topeka
Jonathan Schumm

But the Schumms, with help from the Kansas Department of Children and Families, prevailed in court.

Tesa Hines believes she and Lisa were victims of a concerted effort to keep gay couples from adopting.

“I believe it was very political," Tesa says. "I believe that they did not want us to adopt her mostly because we were lesbians, I think also because we were outspoken black women, both of us.”

State officials, including DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, insist there is no effort to prevent gay Kansans from adopting.

But judges in both Johnson and Douglas counties have voiced concerns about bias in the foster care and adoption systems.

Read more on this story from KHI News Service.