How would you feel if you were given adoption rights, only to have them taken away when another state’s courts looked at your case? You’d probably be angry, just like this woman was.
In Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court had refused to recognize the adoption of a child by a lesbian mother. A Georgia court had granted the adoption, which should have been upheld in another state. According to a new verdict by the U.S. Supreme Court, it has decided to reverse the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, because by law, courts must afford “full faith and credit” to rulings that come from other states. What that means is that by law, courts in other states should not overturn or ignore a ruling just because it doesn’t agree.
The case focused on two partners that had three children together. One of the mothers in the couple gave birth, and the other adopted the children. They temporarily established a residency in Georgia so that they could obtain the rights to adopt, and Georgia agreed and allowed the adoptions to go through.
The problem took place when the couple split, 17 years after they first were together. They had raised their children together, but the mother who had adopted the children claimed her ex was trying to keep them away from her. She sued in Alabama state court for access to her 13-year-old and 11-year-old twins.
Alabama ruled that she did not have a right to custody or visitation because the Georgia courts shouldn’t have issued the adoptions. However, that was dismissed, because courts must uphold each other’s’ judgments.
Source: Slate, “A Big Win for Same-Sex Adoption at the Supreme Court,” Dahlia Lithwick, March 07, 2016