March 7, 2016
Southern Torch (3614 articles)

SCOTUS overturns Alabama Supreme Court ruling against lesbian mother

U.S. Supreme Court Building

By: Joseph M. Morgan

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on Monday to overturn a previous Alabama Supreme Court ruling that refused to recognize the custody and visitation rights of a lesbian mother living in Alabama. The court’s brief ruling says that the Alabama Supreme Court overstepped its authority by not recognizing the adoption that had been granted the woman in Georgia. The woman, identified in court documents as V.L., was denied visitation rights with her adopted children after ending a relationship with her lesbian partner, identified as E.L., who is the birth mother of the three adopted children. The ruling issued Monday restores full parental rights to V.L.

“I am overjoyed that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Alabama court decision,” the adoptive mother, V.L., said in a prepared statement. “I have been my children’s mother in every way for their whole lives. 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 Supreme Court has done what’s right for my family.”

The case was first unsuccessfully appealed to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in October 2014. The case was then appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court who issued an order in September 2015 refusing to recognize V.L.’s Georgia adoption and declaring it void. The court found that Alabama did not have to recognize adoption by V.L. of her partner’s biological children because it found the Georgia court didn’t properly apply state law.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling in the case, granting V.L. temporary visitation rights in December. “The Supreme Court’s reversal of Alabama’s unprecedented decision to void an adoption from another state is a victory not only for our client but for thousands of adopted families,” National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura, who is representing V.L. said. “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.”


Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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