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Supreme Court asked to review putting gay adoptive parents on birth certificate

Gay rights group Lambda Legal [advocacy website] filed a petition for writ of certiorari [text, PDF] Monday with the US Supreme Court [official website, JURIST news archive] to review Adar v. Smith [backgrounder], involving a same-sex couple who want both their names on the birth certificate of an adopted child. Though adopted in New York, the child was born in Louisiana, where the couple was refused their request. The couple appealed, and in April, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] en banc against the parents, finding that "adoption is not a fundamental right," and that "Louisiana has a legitimate interest in encouraging a stable and nurturing environment for the education and socialization of its adopted children." In a statement [press release], Lambda Legal said, "We have long since abandoned the notion that the government can punish children to express disapproval of their parents or their families. The state of Louisiana cannot withhold a birth certificate for this child simply because it doesn't like who his parents are."

The appeals court ruling in April overturned a prior decision [JURIST report] in February by a panel of three judges from the Fifth Circuit ordering that the revised birth certificate be issued. Lambda Legal, which represents the parents, successfully argued a similar case [JURIST report] in 2007, when the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down an amendment [press release] to the Oklahoma Constitution that would have prevented the state from recognizing adoptions by gay parents that were finalized in other US or foreign jurisdictions. Same-sex adoptive parents have recently been involved in numerous legal battles [JURIST news archive]. In April, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a ban on adoptions [JURIST report] by same-sex couples, finding the ban to be a violation of the state constitution. Last year, a Florida appellate court struck down a similar law [JURIST report], finding that it failed rational basis review and violated the state constitution's equal protection clause.

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