SCOTUS Slaps Down Alabama’s Ruling Against Gay Adoption

SCOTUS has ruled that out-of-state gay adoption is legal in Alabama.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed to uphold a challenge on Monday brought by a woman in Alabama after her state refused to recognize her parental rights. The Alabama woman, who is a lesbian, had legally adopted her three children who, her partner at the time, gave birth to. The couple had established residency in Georgia, where the adoption was legal. They never married and eventually split up after being together for 17 years.

The Alabama woman, who is being identified as "V.L.," in court papers, brought the case against her former partner, "E.L.” In order to win adoption rights for V.L., the couple had originally established temporary residency in Georgia.

Since splitting up, E.L. agreed with the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled that Georgia had mistakenly granted V.L. joint custody in September. E.L.'s lawyers said that "the Georgia court had no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit."

The Supreme Court ruled against that finding. "A state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits," the reversal said. Instead, Alabama must give "full faith and credit" to the Georgia court's decision. SCOTUS had previously blocked the Alabama court's action while considering the case. V.L.'s visitation rights had been temporarily restored.

V.L.’s lawyer, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the case has broad implications for gay or lesbian adoptive parents who travel or move to Alabama.

“The Supreme Court’s reversal of Alabama’s unprecedented decision to void an adoption from another state is a victory not only for our client but for thousands of adopted families,” Cathy Sakimura, the center's family law director, said. “No adoptive parent or child should have to face the uncertainty and loss of being separated years after their adoption just because another state’s court disagrees with the law that was applied in their adoption.”

After the Supreme Court's ruling on same sex marriage in June, adoption rights for same-sex couples is among the issues which has yet to be settled. 30 states grant something called "second-parent adoptions" to gay and lesbian couples. These adoptions benefit couples who don’t share a biological connection, and ensure that their children have two legal parents.

V.L’s lawyers told the Supreme Courtjustices in court papers that same-sex adoptions "have been granted since at least the mid-1980s, long before same-sex couples could marry." It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of these adoptions exist.

Here’s what Jesse Ventura has to say about the discrimination of gay people: 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

Continue the Discussion