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Gay Parenting Rights

Melissa Cox, Esq.

The gay rights movement advanced another step following the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of a gay woman's parental rights over her 3 adopted children. The woman, identified as V.L., raised the children with their birth mother in Georgia, who agreed to let V.L. become a legal parent after a petition for adoption was endorsed by a Georgia Court.

When the women's relationship ended 4 years later, V.L. moved to Alabama while still battling the birth mother for joint custody. Initially, the lower court in Alabama granted joint custody of the children to the women, but the Alabama Supreme Court disagreed and revoked the custodial rights of the non-biological mother. The Court's opinion stated that the Georgia court did not have jurisdiction in Alabama and, therefore, the adoption order would not be recognized there.

As it turns out, the Alabama Supreme Court was dead wrong. Without oral argument, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the earlier decision of the Alabama Supreme Court as the U.S. Constitution requires state courts to recognize judgments issued by courts in other states.

The swift and unanimous decision to recognize V.L.'s parental rights serves as a great leap toward same-sex parenting equality.

If you have questions about adoptions or family law, contact attorney Melissa Cox at (248) 380-0000.

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