Supreme Court rejects appeal in gay couple's adoption case
The Supreme Court action Tuesday means Louisiana does not have to amend the birth certificate of a local boy adopted by an unmarried gay couple living in New York, to record them as his parents.
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a case examining whether an official in Louisiana violated the Constitution when she refused to issue a corrected birth certificate for a child adopted by an unmarried gay couple in New York.Skip to next paragraph
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The case was being closely followed because it raised legal issues that could be important in the escalating battle over state and federal government recognition of same-sex marriage.
The justices did not explain why they would not hear the case. The action leaves undisturbed a Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the Louisiana official’s refusal to issue a new birth certificate.
The state official cited a Louisiana policy that permits only married couples to adopt. The policy applies to all unmarried couples, regardless of a couple’s sexual orientation.
The issue arose when they sought to amend their son’s Louisiana birth certificate to record their names as the boy’s parents. Louisiana refused.
The issue in the case was whether the constitutional requirement that each state afford “full faith and credit” to judicial decisions in other states requires Louisiana officials to issue a corrected birth certificate despite the state’s policy prohibiting adoptions by couples who aren’t married.
Lawyers for the couple had asked the high court to embrace a broad reading of the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause that would have required Louisiana to jettison its policy in light of New York’s adoption decree. In addition, they argued that the clause empowered individuals to sue a state that fails to accommodate a sister-state’s decree.
Louisiana embraced a much narrower reading of the full faith and credit clause.
Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution says in part: “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”
A gay rights group, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, filed suit on the parents' behalf, arguing that Louisiana had a constitutional duty to fully recognize the legality of the New York adoption. They said there is no exception allowing states to discriminate against certain adoptions that don’t comply with home-state policies.
A federal judge and a three-judge appeals court panel agreed. The Louisiana official was ordered to issue the amended birth certificate.