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Idaho Supreme Court rules gay, lesbian couples have equal adoption rights

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court says gay and lesbian couples have the same right to adopt children as anyone else under state law.

The unanimous high court handed down the opinion Monday, clearing the way for Darcy Drake Simpson to adopt the two children that she has raised with her partner, Rene Simpson, since the first child was born 15 years ago.

Idaho StatesmanRene (left) and Drake Simpson

Idaho Statesman
Rene (left) and Darcy Drake Simpson

The Idaho Statesman reports the Boise couple has been together since 1995 and they were married last year in California. Rene Simpson gave birth to their first son in 1998, and adopted a second boy as an infant in 2001.

Drake Simpson filed a petition to adopt the two children, but last summer Ada County Magistrate Cathleen MacGregor denied the adoption, saying that the couple must be in a legally recognized union in order for Drake Simpson to adopt.

But Justice Jim Jones wrote in the Supreme Court ruling that Idaho’s law is clear: It states “any person” may adopt a minor child, regardless of sexual orientation.

“In sum, the magistrate’s interpretation of Idaho law is simply not supported by the plain text of the statute,” Jones wrote for the court. “In light of the unambiguous language in I.C. 16-1501 that allows for ‘any adult person residing in and having residence in Idaho’ to adopt ‘any minor child,’ and because chapter 15 contains no provisions that limit adoption to those who are married, Idaho’s adoption statutes plainly allow Jane Doe to adopt John Doe and John Doe I.”

Adoption cases are sealed in Idaho. But Darcy Drake Simpson and Rene Simpson came forward in December, saying they hoped to raise awareness about the problems faced by families headed by same-sex couples.

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One of the Boise couple’s lawyers, Bill Mauk, said the case would set a precedent for adoption not just by gay couples, but also for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others.

The issue of gay rights has become prominent in Idaho. Four couples are suing Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in federal court in an effort to overturn Idaho’s 8-year-old ban on gay marriage, and last year the Idaho Tax Commission barred same-sex couples legally married in other states from filing joint Idaho income tax returns.

Last week, 43 people were arrested after they blocked the entrances to the Idaho Senate chambers for more than two hours in an effort to push lawmakers to take up a bill adding anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people.

And a Republican lawmaker introduced a bill last month to forbid the state from revoking professional licenses of those who refuse service or employment on religious grounds, a proposal intended to bolster religious professionals’ rights to deny services to people who are gay or transgender.

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95 more reader comments:

  1. Fucking IDAHO is more evolved than Kentucky.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:56am
  2. Finally! With all the trouble we have some GOOD news!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:57am
  3. Love

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:57am
  4. Sure wish this was news about AZ!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:57am
  5. awesome news!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:57am
  6. (Y)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:59am
  7. Nice :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:59am
  8. Guess what state is going to be soaking up the nation’s foster kids?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:00am
  9. YEY!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:00am
  10. I heard the heads of the religious right exploding all the way down here in southern Texas…. GREAT news.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:02am
  11. That’s the start….! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:04am
  12. Very true. Shame all states don’t have equal rights for everyone. One day I know it!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:08am
  13. Awesome!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:11am
  14. progress

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:12am
  15. It bothers me that this only covers cis relationships and that no one here seems to object to that.. It should be legal for any legal adult to marry any other legal adult..

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:13am
  16. Scratch one more item off the list. Keep it up folks. We will get there.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:18am
  17. Great great news

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:19am
  18. The dominoes continue to topple.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:19am
  19. LUCKY KID’S!.<3

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:25am
  20. This is HUGE

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:41am
  21. Go Idaho!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:56am
  22. Awesome

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:18am
  23. DeAnna L Brite:

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:19am
  24. Wtg Idaho !

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:22am
  25. Go Idaho!! Way to show Utah!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:31am
  26. right on!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:33am
  27. Come on Arkansas!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:44am
  28. well se even Idaho is more progressive than Salt Lake City, Utah

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:47am
  29. Amen!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:55am
  30. lets be friends….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:06am
  31. Awesome!!! :D

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:23am
  32. thank you :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:41am
  33. WAY TO GO! I-DA-HO!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 6:08am
  34. Wow… some sanity has gotten into Idaho in the time I’ve been gone. Amazing.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 7:46am
  35. They have achieved the right. The birth mother’s right to choose may still cause problems.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 7:48am
  36. Well that’s one more step for idaho. It’s about time

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 8:01am
  37. I like Idaho :) Never been there, but I like it!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 8:12am
  38. All 50 states will have gay rights very soon!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 8:33am
  39. Congrats to Idaho and to the couple.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 9:46am
  40. Wonderful news! It’s hard to believe they were so reasonable!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 10:11am
  41. Congratulations! A step closer to equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 10:25am
  42. <3

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 10:46am
  43. I love

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:16am
  44. Love is Love…it shouldn’t matter who’s loving who…society should be grateful that these kind loving souls want to adopt these unfortunate children and provide them with a great chance at a decent life.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:23am
  45. I wish France would have a law like this. They were about to but stupid people made them change their mind :( Can’t wait to leave this country :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:45am
  46. Go Idaho! Awesome thanks for recognizing human rights.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:34pm
  47. Outstanding! Way to go, Idaho Supreme Court!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:45pm
  48. Wow common sense prevails for once.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 1:19pm
  49. Gay Pride will live forever !

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 1:59pm
  50. :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:26pm
  51. yeah! Progress continues as bigotry recedes.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:51pm
  52. As long as their not criminals good luck to them.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:12pm
  53. Way to go, Idaho!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:37pm
  54. Great, now let us have equal marriage rights, Idaho.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:37pm
  55. Awesome!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:37pm
  56. Finally!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:39pm
  57. Right on!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:39pm
  58. meanwhile in Tennessee they are making a bill to refuse service to gay couples.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:39pm
  59. Many of my friends that have adopted kids usually take kids that no one wants! And they give them a wonderful live and very good care ….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:40pm
  60. Yay!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:41pm
  61. Nice

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:41pm
  62. GO IDAHO♥♥♥

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:41pm
  63. Huge step in the right direction idaho! Hopefully this will be the beginning of true equality x

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:41pm
  64. Finally – Recognition as Loving & Caring PEOPLE!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:44pm
  65. Well of course they do! Finally

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:45pm
  66. YES! GO IDAHO!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:45pm
  67. Awesome Idaho!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:46pm
  68. Way to go Idaho!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:46pm
  69. wooooooohoooooooo!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:46pm
  70. yay

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:48pm
  71. Why do gay couples only adopt babies or small children? It’s very rare that you hear of a older child being adopted by gay couples. just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:48pm
  72. uh, that's the case with all couples. Younger children are far easier to place than older children. I imagine there are a variety of reasons for this (more time with them, blank slate, baggage, etc.). Personally, I would like to adopt at least 1 baby or very young child, for the 'full experience' I guess. But I wouldn't be opposed to older adoptions besides that. I can't imagine how hard it is on them.

    Replied on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:01pm
  73. how many older children have you adopted?

    Replied on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:02pm
  74. so i can adopt my gf’s kids but i cant marry my gf..ooook

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:48pm
  75. Yay! One step at a time!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:49pm
  76. This is a huge step but until the Repugnant Party, GOP and Tea Buggers are held over burning coals and stop the hatred this fight goes on.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:53pm
  77. Pauline Behncke

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:53pm
  78. They have forgotten Transgender, as usual. We would love to adopt as well. Come on lgb get with it

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:57pm
  79. good

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:01pm
  80. Its not just gay couples Berti Wooster is srtaight people two.. and here the reasons why people who adopt want baby’s or small children its because they dont come with alot if bagege meaning behavioural problems and what not.. im sure ull ask how i no this.. well as a 26 yr old mother i was one of those teens that was adopted.. I no this from my own experience… its not easy for us as teens to find homes when we’ve been threw so much and end up with trust and abandonment issues. But it still doesn’t make that right. Teenagers in foster care waiting to be adopted want to be loved to. We know were not easy ti deal with but we want to no whos really gona stay with us threw thick and thin and not give up. And tossed ti the next home. There so many of us who grew out the foster system after 18 yrs old cuz no one wanted to deal with us. Or take the time to help us an stick with us. Fortunantly for me at sixteen i was adopted and i thank my parents for loving me. Thats why people adopt babys or lil kids. So no its not just gay people.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:03pm
  81. I wonder how many older kids get turned down cause they might be gay? Seriously people need to stop thinking it’s okay to hate.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:06pm
  82. So many children have just been blessed!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:07pm
  83. GO, IDAHO!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:09pm
  84. I am the straight adoptive mom of six awesome kids and two bio kids. My bio son who was raised from birth in the baptist church is gay, and I love him no less! This is awesome!!!! Sooooo many kids are waiting! All of my kids were adopted over the age of three. It wasnt easy but I bet you wont find a bio parent out there that claims their kids were easy either. GO IDAHO!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:11pm
  85. *high five*

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:16pm
  86. Whoooo hoooo

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:21pm
  87. Great News

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:21pm
  88. Everyone should be loved by someone!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:25pm
  89. ils sont humains comme nous. Ils ont choisi leur mode de vie. Tolérance exige,…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:29pm
  90. Will be wonderful when the old bigoted generation dies off and the younger more socially tolerant generations take over!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:31pm
  91. Way to go IDAHO !!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:40pm
  92. Karen Brown

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:11pm
  93. hallehlulia

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:18pm
  94. God is awesome!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:21pm
  95. Yeah!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 5:34pm