FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 16, 2003
(San Francisco, CA, December 16, 2003) — A complaint was filed today in San Francisco Superior Court against Adoption.com, the largest adoption-related Internet business in the United States. The suit alleges that Adoption.com unlawfully discriminates by excluding all same-sex couples from using its services, one of which allows prospective adoptive parents, for a fee, to post personal information about themselves for birth mothers who are seeking adoptive parents for their children. California law prohibits businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
The plaintiffs in this suit, Michael and Richard Butler, a gay couple, are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which has taken this case on a pro bono basis. The plaintiffs are registered domestic partners in California and have been together for eight years. They are licensed and approved as potential adoptive parents by the State of California. Adoption.com refused to let the Butlers use its online services because the Butlers are gay.
"The actions of Adoption.com offend not only California Law, but basic principles of rationality, fairness and equality," said Shannon Minter, Legal Director at the NCLR. "Sexual orientation is irrelevant in determining whether one is a fit and proper parent."
Co-counsel Neel Chatterjee, a partner at Orrick, commented, "We seek to end the policy of excluding members of the gay and lesbian community from equal access to Adoption.com's services. These discriminatory practices do not serve the interests of children or biological parents looking for suitable adoptive parents in California. The goal of this lawsuit is to open up the valuable services provided on Adoption.com's website to all individuals."
For more information on the Butlers, visit their website at http://www.butlerfamilysite.com/
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's lawyers serve clients from 12 offices around the world: New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Orange County, Pacific Northwest, Sacramento, London, Milan, Paris and Tokyo.