The Supreme Court [official website] Monday stayed [order, PDF] an Alabama court decision that repudiated the parental rights of a woman (VL) who had been raising the three children she shared with her same-sex partner. The Alabama Supreme Court [official website] decision [text, PDF] had reversed the ruling of a Georgia court, which granted VL custody of the children. The Alabama court found that the Georgia court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to issue the judgment and that the Georgia court improperly applied Georgia law. The two women raised the children, but VL is not the biological mother. The Alabama court based its ruling on the understanding that the biological parent had to withdrawal their full parental rights in order for a party without a biological connection to adopt. VL contends that the Alabama court in is violation [JURIST report] of the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, which places a duty upon each state to respect the acts of another. The woman has also asked the Supreme Court for an emergency order [AL report] to allow her to visit the children. The court did not issue a ruling on this matter.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] issues concerning children, particularly adoption disputes, have remained controversial issues throughout the world. 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.