Lesbian mother appeals judge’s adoption refusal to Supreme Court
Lesbian mother appeals judge’s adoption refusal to Supreme Court

An Alabama woman on Monday asked [cert. petition] the US Supreme Court [official website] to review the decision of an Alabama court not to recognize [opinion] her adoption of her same-sex partner’s three children. She has also asked the Supreme Court for an emergency order [AL report] to allow her to visit the children while her appeal is being considered. According to the plaintiff, the decision by the Alabama Supreme Court [official website] prohibits her [AP report] from seeing the children despite her raising them since birth. The Alabama Supreme Court refused to recognize the decision of a Georgia court to recognize the adoption, declaring the adoption void. According to a statement by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) [advocacy website], “Before this ruling, no state supreme court has refused to recognize a same-sex parent’s adoption from another state—or any out-of-state adoption—based on a disagreement with how the court issuing the adoption interpreted its own adoption laws.” The court argued that the Georgia court did not properly apply Georgia law, as it makes no provision for a non-spouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents. NCLR Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura has stated that the Alabama Court has no legal ability to second guess the judgment of the Georgia court, calling this a serious constitutional violation.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] issues concerning children, particularly adoption disputes, have remained controversial issues throughout the world the past few years. In September the Maryland Court of Special Appeals published a ruling [JURIST report] holding that a lesbian woman has no visitation or custody rights to a boy given birth by her partner before they were married. In August Mississippi civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the policy of the Mississippi Department of Human Services [official website] that bans adoption by married same-sex couples. In June the governor of Michigan signed a law [JURIST report] that allows private adoption agencies to deny placements with same-sex couples for religious reasons. In May the Supreme Court of the US Virgin Islands ruled [JURIST report] that second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples are permitted under Virgin Islands law. In April the Florida Senate voted to repeal [JURIST report] the state’s ban on same-sex adoption.