Supreme Court restores rights of adoptive mother who had split with her lesbian partner
The two women in the case were in a committed relationship that started in 1995 and lasted about 17 years. One of them gave birth to a child in 2002 and to twins in 2004, both times by insemination from an anonymous donor. The other partner had adopted the children in a Georgia court, which had allowed a step-parent like adoption. They raised the children together in Alabama until they broke up in 2011.
When a dispute about visitation arose, the adoptive mother got visitation rights from an Alabama court, based upon the Georgia adoption judgment. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed that, saying that the Georgia judgment was not entitled to the “full faith and credit” ordinarily required by the Constitution to judicial proceedings of every other state.”
The ruling reversing the Alabama Supreme Court was based primarily on the grounds that the Alabama Court had violated the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. This is not an issue exclusive to adoptions or same sex couples. However, it is another affirmation of the commitment of the US Supreme Court to the rights of same sex couples. It also stands as a strong rebuke to the Alabama Supreme Court, who’s Chief Justice had previously instructed county clerks in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.