Which Box Do You Check? Some States Are Offering a Nonbinary Option

As nonbinary teenagers push for driver’s licenses that reflect their identity, a fraught debate over the nature of gender has arrived in the nation’s statehouses.

Ever since El Martinez started asking to be called by the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them” in the ninth grade, they have fielded skepticism in a variety of forms and from a multitude of sources about what it means to identify as nonbinary.nonbinary

There are faculty advisers on El’s theater crew who balk at using “they” for one person; classmates at El’s public school on the outskirts of Boston who insist El can’t be “multiple people”; and commenters on El’s social media feeds who dismiss nonbinary gender identities like androgyne (a combination of masculine and feminine), agender (the absence of gender) and gender-fluid (moving between genders) as lacking a basis in biology.

Even for El’s supportive parents, conceiving of gender as a multidimensional sprawl has not been so easy to grasp. Nor has El’s suggestion that everyone state their pronouns gained much traction.

So last summer, when the Massachusetts State Legislature became one of the first in the nation to consider a bill to add an “X” option for nonbinary genders to the “M” and “F” on the state driver’s license, El, 17, was less surprised than some at the maneuver that effectively killed it.

Beyond the catchall “X,” Representative James J. Lyons Jr. (he/him), a Republican, had proposed that the bill should be amended to offer drivers 29 other gender options, including “pangender,” “two-spirit” and “genderqueer.” Rather than open the requisite debate on each term, leaders of the Democratic-controlled House shelved the measure.

“He articulated an anxiety that many people, even folks from the left, have: that there’s this slippery slope of identity, and ‘Where will it stop?’” said Ev Evnen (they/them), director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, which is championing a new version of the bill.

As the first sizable group of Americans to openly identify as neither only male nor only female has emerged in recent years, their requests for recognition have been met with reservations that often cross partisan lines. For their part, some nonbinary people suggest that concerns about authenticity and grammar sidestep thornier questions about the culture’s longstanding limits on how gender is supposed to be felt and expressed.

“Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated,” said Mx. Evnen, 31, who uses a gender-neutral courtesy title. “It’s also threatening to an order a lot of people have learned how to navigate.”

And with bills to add a nonbinary marker to driver’s licenses moving through at least six legislatures this session, the expansive conception of gender that many teenagers can trace to middle-school lunch tables is being scrutinized on a new scale.

NYTimes.com, May 29, 2018 by Amy Harmon

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Same Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications

At gay pride marches around the country this month, there will be celebrations of marriage, a national right that, at just two years old, feels freshly exuberant to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

But while questions of marriage are largely settled, same sex parents still face a patchwork of laws around the country that define who is and who can be a parent. This introduces a rash of complications about where L.G.B.T.Q. couples may want to live and how they form their families, an array of uncertainties straight couples do not have to think about.

“There are very different laws from state to state in terms of how parents are protected, especially if they’re unmarried,” said Cathy Sakimura, deputy director and family law director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “You can be completely respected and protected as a family in one state and be a complete legal stranger to your children in another. To know that you could drive into another state and not be considered a parent anymore, that’s a pretty terrifying situation.”gay parents adoption

Adoption laws, for example, can be extremely contradictory. In some states, like Maryland and Massachusetts, adoption agencies are expressly prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation. At the same time, other states, like South Dakota, have laws that create religious exemptions for adoption providers, allowing agencies to refuse to place children in circumstances that violate the groups’ religious beliefs.

Alan Solano, a state senator in South Dakota, sponsored his state’s adoption legislation. He said he was concerned that if those groups were forced to let certain families adopt, they might get out of the adoption business entirely, shrinking the number of placement agencies in the state.

“I wanted to ensure that we have the greatest number of providers that are working on placing children,” Mr. Solano said. “I’m not coming out and saying that somebody in the L.G.B.T. community should not be eligible for getting a child placed with them. What I hope is that we have organizations out there that are ready and willing to assist them in doing these adoptions.”

But as a practical matter, lawyers who specialize in L.G.B.T.Q. family law say that in some areas, religiously affiliated adoption organizations are the only ones within a reasonable distance. Moreover, they say, such laws harm children who need homes by narrowing the pool of people who can adopt them, and they are discriminatory.

“There is a very serious hurt caused when you’re told, ‘No, we don’t serve your kind here,’ and I think that gets lost in the public discourse a lot,” said Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal. “There’s just this narrative that absolutely ignores, and almost dehumanizes, L.G.B.T. people. They’re missing from the equation here.”

There are a number of laws that can affect L.G.B.T.Q. families, from restrictions on surrogacy to custody, and the landscape is constantly shifting.

by Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times – June 20, 2017

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The predictable reason why anti-LGBT bills become law

The cavalcade of crazy ginned up by folks fearful of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans was predictable. That far-right conservatives have been wigged out ever since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last June is not surprising.  Anti-LGBT bills are popping up all over the country.

Nor is the move by states to pass so-called religious freedom laws. Nor is the push to deny transgender people the dignity of using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. LGBT-rights activist and radio host Michelangelo Signorile predicted as much a year ago in his book “It’s Not Over: Getting beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality.”

 

Also, “Nearly all of the states facing anti-LGBT bills / anti-transgender bills have only 1 or no openly LGBT people serving in their state legislatures,” the report notes.

“One of the reasons the LGBT movement has seen such rapid progress is because our allies have really stepped up. But allies aren’t enough. When LGBT people are serving in public office, and especially in state legislatures, they directly change the conversation,” Aisha Moodie-Mills, president and CEO of Victory Fund and Institute. told me. “Their visibility and their relationships with their colleagues mean the discussion quickly becomes about a real person with a real family. It’s not just political grandstanding on one side and allies pleading their case on the other. Representation matters. Our voices make a huge difference when we’re in those rooms.”rainbowsilhouetteparents

Knowing this then, the opposite actions recently by Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) and Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) have a bit more context.

With lightning speed, the North Carolina legislature passed and McCrory signed into law legislation that not only strips the state of antidiscrimination protections for LGBT folks but also requires transmen and transwomen to use bathrooms based on the sex on their birth certificate and not on their gender identity. The Tar Heel State has no openly LGBT members of its legislature.

Meanwhile, down in the Peach State, Deal vetoed a so-called religious freedom bill. “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” he said announcing his decision on March 28. Georgia has three openly LGBT legislators.

by Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post, April 29, 2016

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Adoption For Gay Couples is Still the Best Answer – The Message of Matter of Kelly S. v. Farah M.

Does this case render adoption for gay couples as unnecessary or is it simply an affirmation of another state’s more progressive parentage laws?

There has never been a stronger case for adoption for gay couples than Matter of Kelly S. v. Farah M.  I reported this week about a case out of the Second Department Appellate Division in New York affirming a Suffolk County Family Court decision granting visitation to a non-biological lesbian mother. At first glance, this appears to create new law in New York, doing away with previous NY law holding that a non-biological mother does not have standing to seek custody or visitation.  But on further inspection, its true message is that the only way to avoid costly and bitter court battles is through adoption for gay couples.

adoption for gay couples

Facts of the case – Kelly Steagall and Farah Martin met and entered into a relationship in 2000 and became registered domestic partners in California in 2004. They were legally married there in 2008.  Ms. Martin conceived two children through artificial insemination who were born in March of 2007 and April of 2009.  The couple used the same known donor for each child and, instead of using a doctor or fertility clinic to assist with the insemination, they privately inseminated at home.  After moving to New York in 2012, the couple separated in 2013 and Kelly moved to Arizona.  Kelly filed a visitation petition in Suffolk County New York in 2014.

Ms. Martin objected to Ms. Steagall’s status as a legal parent stating that New York law did not support her position and, in what the court saw a self-serving move, sued the known donor to establish that he was the other “true” parent.

What the court said – Appellate division Judge Roman, in her affirmation of the lower Family Court’s ruling, stated that because the couple was in a registered domestic partnership and subsequent marriage in California when the children were born, California law, which is far more progressive that New York family law, should govern and therefore, Ms. Steagall’s parentage could be recognized under California law.

New York Law – In New York County, Surrogate Judge Kristin Booth Glen, in a case entitled In the Matter of Sebastian, discusses the issue of establishing parental rights for a non-biological parent specifically.  The case involves married lesbian couple who used an anonymous sperm donor to have a child. Glen concludes, when discussing the non-biological mother’s relationship with the child that, “the only remedy available here that would accord the parties full and unassailable protection is a second-parent adoption pursuant to New York Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) § 111 et seq.”  Glen further states, “that a judicial order of adoption in one state must be afforded full faith and credit in every state, and that there can be no “public Policy” exception to that mandatory recognition…”.

This case essentially relies on a marital presumption of parentage. In California, a registered domestic partnership at the time was viewed for all intents and purposes as a marriage.  While it is true that many states have what is called a “martial presumption of parentage,” it is applied differently in different states.  In New York State, there is specific case law that holds that the marital presumption of parentage does not apply to same-sex couples.  That case is called “Matter of Paczkowski v. Paczkowski.”  In that case, the appellate division of the Second Department of New York, the same court that decided the Matter of Kelly S. v. Farah M., held that the “presumption of legitimacy… is one of a biological relationship, not a legal status.”

In essence, the court says that a marriage does not create a legal right between a non-biological parent and a child.  While it may be an indication of intent to be a parent, as would a non-biological parent’s name on a birth certificate, the only way to actually create the legal relationship that guarantees the security that all same-sex families need, is through adoption for gay couples, and in some states, a parentage order.  Unfortunately, New York currently does not have the capacity to issue a parentage order but there is legislation in committee in Albany that may change that.

How does this case affect Gay couples? – The take away from this case may not be what many of us in the LGBT legal community want, particularly in New York. While the language in the decision is expansive and is certainly heading in the right direction, it does not change the law in New York.  Had Kelly Steagall and Farah Martin lived in New York, conceived and gave birth to their children in New York, the outcome of this case could have been vastly different and Kelly Steagall would still, under current New York law, have had to fight in the courts for visitation to the children she had helped to raise since their birth.  No one factors into their family equation to emotional and financial costs of fighting to see the children to whom they area  parent, nor should they.  But the reality of the situation is much more nuanced.  If you are a New York resident, second or step parent adoption for gay couples is the best and only way to ensure that the emotional and financial costs of litigation can be avoided.

Anthony M. Brown, head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, has extensive experience in helping same-sex couples through the adoption process, having gone through the process himself. If you have yet to create a legal relationship with your child or children, call 212-953-6447 or email Anthony at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

Landmark China Same Sex Marriage Case Rejected

China Same Sex Marriage Case Rejected Dealing Gay Rights Movement A Major Blow

BEIJING (Reuters) – A court in China on Wednesday rejected a landmark China same sex marriage case by two men who had sought permission to get legally married, one of the plaintiffs said, a decision that shines the light on gay rights in the world’s most populous nation.

While homosexuality is not illegal in China, and large cities have thriving gay scenes, same-sex marriage is not legal, and same-sex couples have no legal protections.international surrogacy

In what activists hailed as a step forward for gay rights, Sun Wenlin, 26, had lodged the suit with a court in the southern Chinese city of Changsha against a civil affairs bureau that denied him the right to marry.

But after a short hearing, the court turned down his request to marry, Sun said.

“Of course I’m not very pleased about it but I’m not going to give up,” he told Reuters by telephone. “I plan to appeal.”

Sun said he had filed the lawsuit in December because he wanted to form a family unit with his 36-year-old partner.

Sun previously told Reuters he had tried to register to marry his boyfriend at the Furong district civil affairs bureau in June but was rejected by an official who told him “marriage had to be between a man and woman.”

April 13, 2016 – Huffingtonpost.com, via Reuters

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NY Appeals court: Divorcing lesbian mother has parental rights

A state appeals court has upheld a Suffolk Family Court decision finding that two women who are divorcing are the legal parents of their children, including the one who did not give birth to them.

The unanimous decision for the Appeals court, Appellate Division’s Second Department, written by Justice Sheri Roman, finds that Kelly Steagall, 47, now of Arizona, has the right to seek visitation of the children born during her marriage to Farah Martin, 40, who grew up in Nesconset.

As in last year’s ruling by Suffolk Family Court Judge Deborah Poulos, Roman noted that the issue is affected by many factors, including the validity of California law in New York, whether a sperm donor who was a friend to the couple has any parental responsibilities and how the two women raised the children when they were together.

Steagall and Martin had three kids together. Steagall gave birth to the first one, and Martin carried the other two.

The couple later moved to Long Island and then separated. Martin went to Family Court seeking to deny Steagall’s parental rights to the younger two children, arguing that because Steagall never adopted them, an informal artificial insemination process left the children’s legal parentage in doubt.

Roman’s decision said that makes no difference.marriage equality

“The parties made an informed, mutual decision to conceive the subject children via artificial insemination and to raise them together, first while in a registered domestic partnership in California and, later, while legally married in that state,” Roman wrote. “Additionally, the children were given [Steagall’s] surname, [Steagall] was named as a parent on each birth certificate and the parties raised the children from the time of their births … until the parties separated.”

Steagall said she is grateful for the decision, but worries the protracted legal battle and her inability to see her children regularly has damaged her relationship with them.

“There was borderline parental alienation going on, and I feel that’s still going on,” she said. “My kids will barely speak to me on the phone.”

Steagall’s appellate attorney, Christopher Chimeri of Hauppauge, said the ruling now enables Steagall to have a fair fight for visitation. He said courts are going to see more such cases.

“The law is, in effect, catching up to how families are formed and maintained,” he said.

by Andrew Smith, April 8, 2016 – newyorknewsday.com

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New York Surrogacy – The State of the State

Many LGBT individuals and couples are turning to surrogacy to have their families. New York surrogacy is complicated and evolving, but there is hope on the horizon.

Surrogacy is defined and the act of a woman, altruistic in nature, of gestating and giving birth to a child with the intention of giving that child to the intended parent or parents. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate mother is also the egg donor and the child is biologically related to her. With a gestational surrogacy, a fertilized egg is implanted into the womb of the surrogate and she is not biologically related to the child. Most surrogates today are gestational surrogates.

Currently in New York State, The Domestic Relations Law, Article 8, Section 123 essentially criminalizes compensated New York surrogacy. The law states that no person may request, accept or facilitate the receipt of compensation for a surrogacy arrangement. The law does, however, allow for “altruistic” surrogacy, or non-compensated surrogacy, and authorizes limited reimbursement payments for medical and legal costs related to the surrogacy. But the law does not stop there. Lawyers who facilitate compensated surrogacy agreements can lose their licenses and be convicted of a felony. Monetary sanctions from $500.00 to $10,000.00 are also possible. This does not mean that gay individuals and couples in New York cannot enter into a compensated surrogacy contract. It means that the surrogate cannot live, or more importantly give birth, in New York State, forcing them to incur extra costs of traveling to other states in order to support their surrogate mother.

gay surrogacy

The good news is that a group of advocates and attorneys have created a solution to this problem. It is called the Child Parent Security Act (CPSA), a law that would not only legalize and regulate compensated New York surrogacy, but would also allow for the issuance of parentage orders to secure the parental rights of the non-genetically related parent. Currently, non-genetically related parents must have a second or step parent adoption to protect their families. As of this post, the CPSA is stuck in committee in the New York legislature, held back due to certain legislators’ misunderstanding of surrogacy. Many of these legislators are staunch supporters of the rights of the LGBT community; however, surrogacy for them is a “hot button” issue, as it currently is in Europe.

If you are thinking about surrogacy to have your family, there are a few legal issues you should know about prior to signing any contracts. The most important is that compensated surrogacy is governed by the laws of the state where your surrogate lives, or where she gives birth. It is critical to be aware of these ever changing laws and make sure that the current law is incorporated into your gestational carrier (GC) contract. These contracts will contain such other provisions as: a mandate for medical and psychological testing, details of conception and abstinence for the GC and her partner or spouse, termination of GC’s parental rights, provisions for death or divorce of intended parents (IPs), payment of expenses, compensation, review of GC’s health insurance, breach and remedy procedures, selective reduction provisions to name just a few. These contracts are purposefully dense as their purpose is to cover any and all possible situations that may arise in the relationship IPs will have with their surrogate. It is critical that you have an attorney who is versed in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) law to assist you in the drafting and review of your surrogacy contract.

Finally, for those considering New York surrogacy, make sure to read through the Men Having Babies Framework of Ethical Guidelines for Intended Parents, an invaluable document created to assist IPs in navigating the process with dignity and awareness of your surrogate mother’s needs through the process. If you are looking for an attorney in New York who specializes in helping same sex couples have families, call Anthony M. Brown, head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, at 212-953-6447 or email questions to Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

HIV Positive Dads Follow Their Family Dream

These HIV positive dads fathered children. Science has come a along way to help HIV+ dads have families of their own.

Aslan always believed he would be a father—if not with a partner, then by teaming up with one of his straight, single female friends. But “at the age of 36, I became infected with the [HIV] virus,” he said. “I thought my whole world collapsed. Everything crashed with that. I believed that there would be no child.” He was gay and single, living in a cosmopolitan city in his southern European country, when a female friend asked him to pair up to make a baby. He had heard that it could be done safely, but when he told her his HIV status, her reaction, he said somewhat morosely, was “very naturally, not very brave.” Unwilling to face that rejection again, he spent years trying to bury his profound desire become one of many HIV positive dads.

Things were different for Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren, who were already in their forties by the time they began thinking about having kids. Their early years together focused on keeping Brian, who is HIV+, healthy and Ferd negative. But once protease inhibitors emerged and Brian’s health was stable, the couple decided to focus on enjoying life. They moved from Boston into a one-bedroom Chelsea co-op in New York City, started summering in Fire Island, and hopped around their friends’ parties having “a gay old time,” as Brian put it.Donor

After several years, though, all that began to pale. “We started thinking that life had to be more meaningful for us than the next party, the next fabulous vacation.” They wanted a family, and all the responsibility, love, and exhaustion that went with it. They tried adoption first, but when one birthmother backed away, their hearts were broken–so they discussed surrogacy. Given his HIV status, Brian assumed that Ferd would be the biological dad–but Ferd wanted to raise Brian’s bio children. And so in 2009 Ferd went online and found the Special Program for Assisted Reproduction, or SPAR, dedicated to helping HIV-positive men father children safely. The program is run by the Bedford Research Foundation and its director Dr. Ann Kiessling.

Back in southern Europe, by 2011, Aslan was learning about the same option. He was seven months into a new relationship that seemed as if it would stick—and despite himself, he began to imagine having a family with this man. Coincidentally, an American friend forwarded him an article about Circle Surrogacy, which worked with HIV-positive gay men in the States. “And it gave me, like, a wow, big hope, a new window to plan my life again!” Aslan quickly contacted Circle Surrogacy, which connected him with Dr. Ann Kiessling. “She was very kind and explained all the procedures, that it’s completely safe. And this was the start.”

But how can HIV positive dads father children?

“How” has both a practical and a technical answer. This article will tell you the practical steps to take, one by one, with some technical information mixed in along the way. Experts agree that it can be done safely. According to Dr. Brian Berger of Boston IVF, over the past 15 years fertility centers have helped conceive thousands of babies fathered by HIV-positive men—and not a single woman or child has been infected as a result.

So how can an HIV-positive gay man become a biological father? Let’s look at the process, step by step.That’s because, apparently, HIV cannot attach to or infect spermatozoa—the single-cell swimmers that deliver chromosomes to an egg. Sometimes the surrounding fluid—the semen, the ejaculate that carries the sperm along, and which is made separately—does include HIV. But sperm is made only in the testes, which are walled off from the rest of the body, heavily fortified against the illnesses or infections that might affect the rest of the body, for obvious evolutionary reasons. Because sperm doesn’t get mixed with semen until the very last moment, at ejaculation, it remains safe. And after decades of research, the medical profession has figured out how to use only the uninfected sperm to fertilize an egg.

Step 1: Make sure dad is healthy. 

The first, and most important, step is to ensure that the prospective dad is healthy—that his HIV levels are undetectable or nearly so, his T-cell count is high, he’s free of other complications or infections, and he is working closely with a doctor to stay in good health. Says Dr. Bisher Akil, a New York City physician who specializes in caring for HIV-positive patients, “Can HIV positve dads become parents? The answer in 2014 is absolutely yes.” In 2014, no one should use his HIV infection to stop from having a full and normal life, he emphasizes. “The only point I make to potential fathers is that they need to take care of themselves and make sure they have their infection under control. The occasional medical problem that might appear, whether or not related to HIV, needs to be treated very aggressively. They need to be compliant with medications and treatment. That’s not any different from any father with a chronic illness. Now that they have responsibility of having a child, we want to take them through their lives.”

Click here to read the entire article.

April 5, 2016 via gayswithkids.com

LGBT Parental Rights: A new family form but an old question

LGBT parental rights in a changing world.  Will the law catch up to our families?

Lesbian couples raising children conceived through assisted reproduction made front-page news last month when the Supreme Court rebuked Alabama’s refusal to recognize the Georgia adoption decree that made two women legal parents of the couple’s three children. On Tuesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals will take up a related issue.  LGBT parental rights are in the news.

In 2009, after nine years together, Michelle Conover, a transgender man now known as Michael Conover, and Brittany Eckel decided to have a child. They used Shady Grove Fertility Center, selecting semen from an anonymous donor chosen for characteristics similar to Conover. Eckel was inseminated, and, in April 2010, Jaxon was born and given Conover’s last name. Conover was present at Jaxon’s birth and was his stay-at-home parent. When Jaxon was 5 months old, the couple married. About a year later, they separated, although they continued to raise Jaxon together until Eckel allegedly cut off Conover’s access. In their subsequent divorce action, Conover sought visitation rights, but the trial court and the Court of Special Appeals ruled that he was not Jaxon’s legal parent and, as a third party, not entitled to continue his relationship with him.

lesbian family law

The family form is new, but the legal question in the case is not: Who is a child’s legal parent? Extramarital affairs and nonmarital births have always provided challenges for courts grappling with that question, but assisted reproduction has added another dimension.

When married heterosexual couples with an infertile husband began using donor semen in the mid-20th century, some courts called the practice adultery, and legal authorities opined that the child was “illegitimate.” The result was statutory reform in many states, including Maryland, delineating that a child conceived through a married woman’s insemination with the consent of her husband is the “legitimate” child of both of them.

Several state courts have read those statutes to apply to the child of a married lesbian couple. But what about Jaxon, whose parents were not married when he was born? Unmarried couples — gay and straight — now regularly use assisted reproduction. The District has recognized since 2009 that a child born to a married or unmarried couple that uses donor insemination is the legal child of both members of the couple. Had Jaxon been born in a D.C. hospital, Eckel and Conover would both be listed as his parents on his birth certificate.

Washington Post – April 3, 2016, by Nancy Polikoff

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Supreme Court Restores Visitation Rights to Lesbian Adoptive Mother

WASHINGTON — In a pair of unsigned opinions, the Supreme Court on Monday restored the rights of a lesbian adoptive mother who had split with her partner and reversed a murder conviction tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.

 

The adoption ruling reversed one by the Alabama Supreme Court, which had refused to recognize the woman’s adoptions of three children, which had been granted by a Georgia court in 2007.

The woman, identified in court papers as V.L., said she was overjoyed.

“I have been my children’s mother in every way for their whole lives,” she said in a statement. “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 United States Supreme Court’s opinion, which was unsigned and had no noted dissents, said the Alabama court had violated the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause. “A state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits,” the opinion said.

Supreme Court

The two women in the case, V.L. v. E.L., No. 15-648, were in a committed relationship that started in 1995 and lasted about 17 years. They shared a last name.

One of them, identified in court papers as E.L., gave birth to a child in 2002 and to twins in 2004, both times by insemination from an anonymous donor. They raised the children together in Alabama until they broke up in 2011, and the adoptive mother, V.L., continued to see the children for a time afterward.

When a dispute about the visits arose, V.L. turned to an Alabama court, which granted her visitation rights based on the Georgia adoption judgment. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed that, saying in an unsigned opinion that the Georgia judgment was not entitled to the “full faith and credit” ordinarily required by the Constitution “to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

The Alabama Supreme Court reasoned that the Georgia court had misunderstood Georgia law in allowing the adoption, saying that “Georgia law makes no provision for a nonspouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents.”

by Adam Liptak – New York Times, March 7, 2016

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