“The justices upheld a challenge brought by an Alabama woman after her state’s highest court refused to recognize the adoption she and her former lesbian partner were granted in Georgia.
The case was brought by “V.L.,” as she is identified in court papers, against her former partner “E.L.,” who gave birth to three children between 2002-04 while the couple was together. To win adoption rights for V.L., they established temporary residency in Georgia.
Now that they have split, E.L. agreed with the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled in September that Georgia mistakenly granted V.L. joint custody. E.L.’s lawyers argued that “the Georgia court had no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit.”
Not so, the Supreme Court ruled. “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,” its reversal said.
Lawyers for V.L., including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the case has broad implications for any gay or lesbian adoptive parents who travel or move to Alabama.
“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 case could affect other states that challenge or deny same-sex adoptions, according to a brief submitted by adoption and child welfare agencies.”
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