STATE courts sent conflicting messages last week about whether homosexual parents should be allowed to adopt children.
First, a Virginia judge ruled that a lesbian was unfit to raise her biological two-year-old son and awarded custody of the boy to the woman's mother. But in Massachusetts on Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian couple could adopt a five-year-old girl.
Central in both cases was the fact that the parents seeking adoption were not married. Massachusetts, like all other states, does not recognize same-sex marriages. But a majority of the Bay State court said that nothing in state law prevent joint adoption by a homosexual couple.
Two of the dissenting justices said they did not disapprove of the couple's homosexuality but interpreted state law as only permitting joint adoptions by married people. A third justice agreed with that point while also objecting to the women's lifestyle.
Other states that allow homosexual adoptions include California, Alaska, Vermont, New York, and Washington. The District of Columbia also allows these adoptions. Corruption in Rhode Island
Yet another corruption scandal is roiling Rhode Island politics. Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fay has stepped aside temporarily pending resolution of a criminal case against him and an investigation into his handling of a special checking account at the Supreme Court that state auditors said funded inappropriate expenses. Justice Fay has pleaded innocent to three misdemeanor charges of violating state ethics laws by steering legal work to a business partner.
Rep. Jack Reed (D) of Rhode Island has called on the chief judge to resign. ``I think it would be best to resign to lift the cloud over the court and to get on with the business of justice and government here in Rhode Island,'' Mr. Reed said in a TV interview scheduled to air yesterday. Boston teachers look for new contract
Boston teachers head into the school year without a contract. The Boston School Committee on Saturday deadlocked over approval of a new three-year contract that has been criticized as too costly to taxpayers.
The 4-to-4 vote sends administrators and the teachers' union back to the negotiating table.
Acting Mayor Thomas Menino, an ex-officio member of the committee, cast the vote against the contract that led to the tie. Before casting his vote, Mr. Menino argued that the package, which would provide an 11 percent raise over three years as well as other increases in compensation, was too costly.
Although the teachers' union threatened to sue the school district, union leaders said teachers would be back at school today. Massachusetts legislature faces full agenda
The Massachusetts legislature returns from its summer break with a full agenda - and plenty of fodder for fights between Democratic leaders and Republican Gov. William Weld. The legislature must decide whether to take up a $200 million tax-cut proposal made by Mr. Weld this summer, which Democrats have already charged is irresponsible because the governor does not specify where he will get the money to pay for it. The legislature must also decide whether to attempt overrides of Weld's budget vetoes. And lawmakers have Weld's complicated proposal before them to sanction floating casinos to help fund a combined convention center and domed sports complex in Boston.