Lesbian mother appeals Alabama adoption decision to U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A lesbian parent in Alabama has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review her case after Alabama judges refused to recognize her adoption that was granted in another state.

The woman, known in court filings by her initials V.L, petitioned the high court to step in. She said the Alabama decision prohibits her from seeing the children she helped raise.

Cathy Sakimura, of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the Alabama decision “terrifying” and said it illustrates the continued legal challenges facing gay and lesbian parents. She said the Alabama court had no legal authority to second-guess the decision of the Georgia court that had granted the adoption.

“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,” Sakimura said.

The woman and her former partner had three children, who were conceived with sperm donor assistance, during their 16-year relationship. A Georgia court in 2007 approved V.L.’s adoption of the children that her partner gave birth to.

However, the Alabama Supreme Court in September struck down the woman’s visitation rights and ruled the adoption invalid, saying the Georgia court was wrong under that state’s adoption laws to grant it. The Alabama justices said “Georgia law makes no provision for a non-spouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents.”

Sakimura said her client helped raise the children, now ages 10 to 12, since their births, but isn’t allowed to see the children because of the court decision.

Her ex-partner fought her visitation saying the couple lived in Alabama, but only rented a home in Georgia because they believed the court there to be friendlier to adoption petitions by gay couples.

The Alabama Supreme Court earlier this year directed probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples even though a federal judge ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. The directive brought a stop to the weddings until the U.S. Supreme Court said gay and lesbian people have a fundamental right to marry.

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