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.
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Louisiana appealed, seeking review by the entire Fifth Circuit. In a sharply split decision, the Fifth Circuit reversed the earlier judgments, ruling that the full faith and credit clause applied only to state courts, not to state officials acting pursuant to state law.Skip to next paragraph
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Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Edith Jones said the Louisiana registrar had neither refused nor denied recognition of New York’s adoption decree. Rather, the issue faced by the registrar was whether to issue a corrected birth certificate to adoptive parents who were unmarried.
Chief Judge Jones wrote: “The full faith and credit clause does not oblige Louisiana to confer particular benefits on unmarried adoptive parents contrary to its law.”
She added: “Louisiana has a right to issue birth certificates in the manner it deems fit.”
“Heretofore, it has been understood that such discrimination by states among out-of-state judgments is at the core of what the full faith and credit clause prohibits,” Mr. Smith wrote in his brief to the court. “The question whether the Fifth Circuit was correct to depart from that consensus clearly raises questions that urgently need to be addressed by this court.”
In addition to Louisiana, 12 states bar unmarried couples from adopting, according to a friend of the court brief filed by the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law. Those states include Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah. In addition, Mississippi bans adoptions by same-sex couples, regardless of whether they are married or not.
The case was Adar v. Smith (11-46).