Lesbian Mother’s Case Could Be A Game Changer For Same-Sex Adoption Rights

Casey Harper 

A mother denied access to her adopted child by Alabama’s Supreme Court appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in a case that could have big implications for same-sex adoption rights.

The case centered around a lesbian couple who shared custody of three children but eventually split up. One of them gave birth to the children with the help of a sperm donor, and her partner later adopted the children while living in Georgia, so they could both be the official, legal parents.

After the couple parted ways, the biological mother, who now lives in Alabama, tried to keep the children from the adoptive mother, spurring the legal battle. The Alabama Supreme Court heard the case and ruled in September that Alabama did not have to recognize the adoption made in Georgia, effectively stripping the adoptive mother of her rights to the children.

The court reasoned that Georgia did not properly rule on its own laws regarding same-sex adoption and that the state has a vested interest in making sure adopted children have good homes, something gay rights groups have issues with.

“The Constitution requires every state to give full faith and credit to adoptions granted by courts in other states, regardless of whether it agrees with another state’s adoption policy or thinks the adoption was wrongly granted,” National Center For Lesbian Rights Family law director Cathy Sakimura said in a statement. “The Alabama Supreme Court had no legal ability to second-guess the Georgia court’s judgment. As a result of that serious constitutional violation, the children in this case have been wrongly separated from one of their parents, and the stability of adoption judgments across the country has been called into question.”

The June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that recognized same-sex marriages nationwide has put pressure on states’adoption policies, but whether same-sex couples are allowed to adopt still varies by state. Now the adoptive mother wants her case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and a ruling there could settle it once and for all.

“I love my children more than anything,” said the mother seeking to regain her adoptive access and who has remained anonymous. “I haven’t had visitation with my kids since April, and there isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t think about them and pray that we’ll be able to be together again soon. I just want to hold them and feel their arms around me.”

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