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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 11
SCOTUS affirms same-sex adoption, reverses Alabama court
Section One
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SCOTUS affirms same-sex adoption, reverses Alabama court

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the Alabama state Supreme Court and ordered Alabama to recognize an adoption by a Lesbian couple.

The couple, identified only as 'E.L.' and V.L.' in court documents, were unmarried but committed partners who planned to raise children together.

E.L. conceived three children through donor insemination and gave birth to them between 2002 and 2004. V.L. adopted all three children in the state of Georgia with E.L.'s written consent.

The couple subsequently split up, and the children's biological mother E.L. tried to prevent V.L. from seeing them.

V.L. sued for parental visitation rights, citing her adoption of the children. E.L. argued that the Georgia adoption was invalid in Alabama, where all the parties lived, because Alabama state law does not allow unmarried same-sex couples to adopt.

Although a trial judge sided with V.L., the case eventually came to the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled that V.L. did not have rights to see her children.

The constitutional issue at stake was the 'full faith and credit' clause, which requires U.S. states to respect the legal actions of other states. V.L. argued that regardless of Alabama law, she had valid parental rights under Georgia law and that Alabama was constitutionally obligated to respect those rights.

The Alabama Supreme Court, however, said that Georgia had erred in granting V.L. joint custody of the children, and therefore Alabama was not required to give full faith and credit to the adoption.

The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, giving V.L. full visitation rights.

'I am overjoyed that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Alabama court decision,' V.L. said in a statement.

'I have been my children's mother in every way for their whole lives. I thought that adopting them meant that we would be able to be together always. When the Alabama court said my adoption was invalid and I wasn't their mother, I didn't think I could go on. The Supreme Court has done what's right for my family.'

'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,' said National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura, who is representing V.L.

'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.'

The March 7 Supreme Court order was an unsigned summary disposition of the case and does not necessarily create a precedent that can be applied to future cases.

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