Montgomery, Ala. (AP) – The Alabama Supreme Court has voided its earlier decision not to recognize a lesbian couple’s adoption that was carried out in another state.
The opinion announced May 27 falls into line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in March that said the Alabama court erred in declaring the adoption held in Georgia invalid.
One woman bore three children, and her partner adopted them – not in Alabama, but in Georgia – where they believed their chances at adoption would be better.
Alabama courts got involved when the couple broke up after roughly 16 years, and the birth mother tried preventing her former partner from having regular visits with the children.
The Alabama Supreme Court refused to recognize the other woman as a parent, and ruled the couple’s adoption invalid under Georgia law. Alabama justices ruled that the Georgia adoption law didn’t allow a “non-spouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents.” The woman appealed to the nation’s high court.
On March 7, U.S. Supreme Court justices said in an unsigned opinion that “the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit.”
The case illustrated legal challenges facing gay and lesbian parents even after the Supreme Court issued a ruling last June that effectively legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. Not participating in the court’s decision was Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended while he faces a judicial ethics hearing linked to his public opposition to same-sex marriage.