Supreme Court declines to hear same-sex adoption case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment to hear a controversial case involving the rights of same-sex couples in adoptions last week.

The case involved two men who adopted an infant in New York. The baby was originally born in Louisiana, and Louisiana law allows adoptive parents to put their own names on their adopted children’s birth certificates.

However, Louisiana law also states that only married couples or single people may adopt.

Consequently, the registrar in Louisiana refused to list both men’s name on the birth certificate because they were not married. Instead, the registrar said that only one of the men, but not both, could put his name on the birth certificate.

The couple took the case to court, claiming that Louisiana violated their constitutional right to equal protection under the law and that the Constitution also required that Louisiana accept the validity of the New York adoption.

The couple won at the federal trial court level and their first appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, they lost a subsequent appeal before the same court after the state of Louisiana requested a rehearing en banc (meaning before all of the Fifth Circuit judges).

Because the Supreme Court declined to review the case, the last judgment will hold, and the couple will not be able to list both names on their child’s birth certificate.

The Louisiana Attorney General said that it was too early for the Supreme Court to confront the issues presented in the case because society’s views were still changing. Lambda Legal, which brought the lawsuits on the couple’s behalf, called it a “dangerous decision,” which left adopted children “vulnerable” if they moved from one state to another.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody, visitation, grandparents’ rights or adoption, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Reuters, “Supreme Court won’t hear same-sex adoptive parents case” Oct.11, 2011

The Huffington Post, “In the Louisiana Adoption Case, It’s the Child Who Suffers” Oct. 14, 2011