Adoption Agency Is Sued by Lesbians

Times Staff Writer

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Thursday against a Santa Ana adoption agency on behalf of a lesbian couple who say they were illegally prevented from adopting because of their sexual orientation.

“Such discrimination by an adoption agency ... violates plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment,” says the lawsuit, filed in Santa Ana federal court against the Olive Crest Family Care and Adoption Agency.

Kelly Crosland, an agency official, denied the charge. “We are very disappointed that [the plaintiffs] have chosen to take this route,” she said. “As always, our goal is to place each child in an environment that is in the best interests of that child.”

Olive Crest -- which, according to the lawsuit, gets more than 80% of its $29-million annual budget from federal, state and county sources -- is one of several agencies that contract with Orange County to provide placement, care and treatment for foster children, including the recruitment, training and certification of foster and adoptive parents.


Shannon Rose and Jane Wesley Brooks of San Diego say they began the certification process in July 2002 after being assured that their sexual orientation would not be an issue.

“We were upfront about it from Day One,” said Brooks, 42, a law student who says she and Rose, a doctor, have been in a relationship for 10 years.

In September, Olive Crest adopted a policy stating that it “prefers to place children with nuclear families,” the lawsuit says.

“It’s wrong not only to break the law, but to deny the making of a family,” Brooks said.