Louisiana Gay Adoption Case Heading to Supreme Court


Lamda Legal filed on Monday a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a same-sex couple seeking to be able to put both their names on the birth certificate of their Louisiana-born son whom they adopted in New York.

Louisiana state has refused to to recognize the adoption and will not grant an adoption certificate to both fathers.

From the Lambda Legal press release:

“By treating adopted children whose parents are unmarried worse than other adopted children, Louisiana violates two well-established federal constitutional protections, both of which embody principles of equal treatment and unify us as a nation. First, the constitution mandates that Louisiana, like every other state, must treat all out-of-state adoption judgments equally. Second, Louisiana may not treat adopted children themselves differently based on the marital status of their legal parents,” said Kenneth D. Upton, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office based in Dallas. “We have long since abandoned the notion that the government can punish children to express disapproval of their parents or their families. The state of Louisiana cannot withhold a birth certificate for this child simply because it doesn’t like who his parents are.”

Lambda Legal represents Oren Adar and Mickey Smith in their case against Louisiana State Registrar Darlene Smith. Adar and Smith are a gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in New York, where a judge issued an adoption decree. When the couple attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, in part so Smith could add his son to his health insurance, the registrar’s office told him that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents and so they could not issue it.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled in 2009 that denying both men a right to be on the birth certificate was unconstitutional and that the parents’ and child’s rights had been violated.

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld that ruling in 2010.

However, the state petitioned for a rehearing and won, placing the case before a full court of 16 judges in January 2011.

The 5th Circuit then delivered a sharply divided ruling in April of this year that overturned the previous decisions, saying that denying both men a listing on the birth certificate does not infringe the child’s right to equal protection and nor does it prevent legal recognition of the New York adoption — only that such recognition must comport with state law.

The petition filed Monday by Lambda Legal argues that the 5th Circuit ignored “well-established Supreme Court law” and that the decision “conflicts with other federal circuits across the country.”

Lambda Legal argues that, left to stand, this ruling would “[carve] out an exception to the uniformly recognized respect for judgments that states have come to rely upon and leaves adopted children and their parents vulnerable in their interactions with officials from other states.”

Related Reading:
Catholic Adoption Agencies Suing Illinois For Special Right to Turn Away Gay Couples
LGBT Adoption Non-Discrimination Act Introduced in U.S. House
Virginia Board of Social Services Rejects Gay-Inclusive Adoption Rules

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to nerdcoregirl.


Brian Fitzpatrick

Are they fit parents; that's the only relevant question!

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

Charlene R. claims "a reasonable person would be happy to see ANY caring couple adopt a child..."

You need to be more reasonable than that.

What's best for the child? Hetero-normativity. It aligns with our biology and our emotional needs. What's not best for the child? Becoming a football for adult sexual politics, which attempt to force a societal maladjustment in favor of sexual couplings that ultimately don't work.

You claim "your sexual preference is established at birth." Actually it's a little later than birth, and it's structured by the emotional bond you establish with the parent of your own sex. Homosexuality is the outcome for some among those who did not establish that bond.

It's not normative; the sexual fidelity marriage requires never lasts among same-sex couples, and indulging in gay sex is a path to misery -- if the emotional void doesn't cut a person down, the STDs are sure to. That's not an environment for a child. Louisiana gets my support on this one.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

So many children are in foster homes and shelters, and one would think there is reason to celebrate because a generous couple wants to adopt!

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ali F.
Ali S6 years ago

@Sharon H.

The study that I quoted was the only unbiased study I found upon my quick research, nor was the site "gay bashing" whatever else it was called to demean it by some of the comments.
I am not a "homophobe", the ridiculous "hate" word I see many of you care2 members quickly like to spew out at those who have an opinion that differs from yours. Where is the tolerance that the gay community preaches?
Most of the studies favoring gay adoption are funded by special interest organizations, or by gay researchers, obviously creating a bias. Nobody mentions this of course. In the best interests of the child, it is healthier to make a connection with his/her birthfamily then to be adopted by any non-relative, regardless of their sexual preferences. The child welfare system is so flawed that to add this new variable to the equation would do much more harm than good.
I wish some of you commentators would take a moment to not let your own hatred take over when leaving comments to people with different viewpoints than your own.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush6 years ago

Considering the number of children, wasting their lives away in foster care or group homes, a reasonable person would be happy to see ANY caring couple adopt a child to care for and love.

There are numerous gay and lesbian couples, who have adopted children, that statistics can be taken to find the results of these unions.
Since, your sexual preference is established at birth, many may be surprised to find, that children raised under these circumstances, are no different than children raised in a male and female environment.
If you are incapable of comprehending that you are born with a particular sexual nature, there is no hope for you to understand this rational solultion.

Janice A.
Janice Adams6 years ago

Paul was talking about those same laws in Leviticus. How long would the human race last if everyone was celibate? Why if god wanted us to go forth and multiply would he give Paul instructions to tell the people they needed to be celibate.

Janice A.
Janice Adams6 years ago

Our courts should be more interested in the welfare of the child than that of the church. This crap is brought about because of religious belief that has nothing to do with reality. Religious belief that would have us kill the child if he dared to hit a parent, under the same group of laws that say it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man. Same laws have no feeling for children how do we expect people who are operating under such laws to have any feeling for children. They continually tout their family values but operating under such law has no family value. A woman is not free, she cannot own property, she cannot be unmarried nor can she be childless only women who bear male children are of any value. Men have all the rights and are the only ones who count. It was a group of laws that if read and examined, was plainly written solely by men to keep women subjected to their will so their society could function. It is stupid and useless in todays society and god had nothing to do with it. Of course they said it was from god. Who would have given them any power if they said I made up these laws and we are all going to obey them? Read Leviticus some time and then when you start spouting that homosexuals are wrong and against god's will etc. you can also know what other stupid things are against god's will and how ridiculous it all is. If on the other hand you are spouting what Paul said about homosexuals, remember he was talking about those laws in Levit

roberto c.
robert m6 years ago

Excuse me Mary B...What are you saying your obviously another ignorant person..if the two man want to adopt a child let them adopted or else you adopt it and take care of it there is many children in need to go to happy homes and with loving parents.......I hope the supreme court rules in their favor SOON Mary we will shall over come your hate, and bigotry.......What a Shame......SHAME on Louisiana and on you......Karen and Edward O...i agree with you Justice Scalia and Thomas need to be out they always rule on their opinion on what they think is good....Hopefully it all goes well read the book "the conservative assault on the constitution" by Irwin Chemerinsky he explains a little bit of that that we are in trouble for issues going to the supreme court due to a republican majority....

Laurie S.
Laurie S6 years ago

Post 1 of 2

@ Mary B.: What does, "If the man had given birth to the baby the State would have granted them to be on the birth certificate," mean, other than the obvious impossibility of it, since men do not give birth at all? I'll give you partial credit for a spare wit or two and assume you meant that, "If [one of the men were a birth-parent of] the baby, the State would have [allowed him] to be on the birth certificate."

But how does that work? My adoptive mother didn't give birth to me, and obviously my adoptive father wasn't involved in my conception, but when the County Court of Santa Clara, State of California finalized my adoption, they were both put on my amended birth certificate as if they had always been there. This is the case in the vast majority of adoptions. Are you suggesting that adoptions should only be recognized as valid if at least one of the adoptive parents is also one of the child's birth-parents? That would upset about 99.9% of adoptive applecarts.

Unless what you're really suggesting is that the adoptive parents should be treated differently based solely on their gender. Saying that the parents can't both be on the birth certificate because they are not married when the state does not allow them to marry even though they want to is a dodge, a cheap trick.

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