Saturday, August 18, 2007

State Will Not Appeal Gay Adoption Ruling

Oklahoma Won't Appeal Gay Adoption Ruling
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 17, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) Oklahoma will not take its fight against same-sex couples who jointly adopt children out of state to the US Supreme Court a spokesperson for the state Health Department said Friday.

"This is a monumental decision, not just for the couples involved in the case, but for lesbian and gay parents and their children nationwide," said Jon Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal.

"It means that when same-sex couples have an adoption decree recognizing both of them as parents, the adoption, and their status as their child's parents, must be honored no matter where they go."

Earlier this month the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that struck down an Oklahoma law described as being so extreme it had the potential to make children adopted by same-sex couples in other states legal orphans when the families are in Oklahoma. (story)

''We hold that final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation,'' the 10th Circuit said in its ruling.

Although single gays may become the parent of adoptive children same-sex couples in Oklahoma were barred from adopting and the law allowed the state to invalidate adoptions where couples have been awarded joint parenting rights in states where co-adoption is legal.

The Adoption Invalidation Law, hastily passed at the end of the 2004 Oklahoma legislative session, had said that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction."

Lambda Legal, representing same-sex couples took the state to court. Lambda represented two same-sex couples and their families who adopted children while living in other states and later moved to Oklahoma or want to visit the state with their family

Lambda Legal argued that the law was unconstitutional based on the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection, due process and right to travel, as well as the mandates of the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

A year ago U. S. District Judge Robin Cauthron declared the Oklahoma law unconstitutional and the state appealed to the 10th Circuit.

Health Department attorney Tom Cross said Friday that the department will not consider appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court because it does not believe that theU.S. Supreme Court would take up the case.

"We will be issuing birth certificates for all adoptions, whether same-sex or not, for children born in Oklahoma," Cross said.

© 2007


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