U.S. Supreme Court asked to hear birth certificate dispute in gay couple adoption


Lambda Legal on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a same-sex couple seeking an accurate birth certificate for their Louisiana-born son whom they adopted in New York.

The state of Louisiana has refused to recognize the adoption and issue a birth certificate listing both fathers as the boy’s parents.

Lambda Legal represents Oren Adar and Mickey Smith in their case against Louisiana State Registrar Darlene Smith.

Adar and Smith are a gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in New York, where a judge issued an adoption decree. When the couple attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, in part so Smith could add his son to his health insurance, the registrar’s office told him that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents and so they could not issue it.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Adar and Smith in October 2007.

In 2009, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey … entered judgment ordering her to issue a new birth certificate identifying both Oren Adar and Mickey Smith as the boy’s parents, saying her continued failure to do so violated the U.S. Constitution. In 2010, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and unanimously affirmed the judgment.

The attorney general requested a rehearing by the full Court of Appeals, which was granted, and a sharply divided court issued a decision this spring overturning the prior decisions.

“By treating adopted children whose parents are unmarried worse than other adopted children, Louisiana violates two well-established federal constitutional protections, both of which embody principles of equal treatment and unify us as a nation,” said Kenneth D. Upton, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office based in Dallas.

“First, the constitution mandates that Louisiana, like every other state, must treat all out-of-state adoption judgments equally. Second, Louisiana may not treat adopted children themselves differently based on the marital status of their legal parents,” said Upton.

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