Alabama Anti-Gay Ruling Is Struck Down by Supreme Court. USAToday reports that on March 7, 2016, in a summary decision, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed an Alabama court’s ruling that had failed to recognize adoptions by same-sex couples.
After having been denied by her state’s high court, an Alabama woman petitioned the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) in order to secure her rights as a legal adoptive parent. Article 3 of the United States Constitution describes the role of SCOTUS as one of am appellate court. In this role, the nine justices are charged with the task of evaluating the constitutionality of laws. Clearly stated is the point that decisions levied by the court are final and will establish precedents to be applied by lower courts.
With names keep anonymous, the case E.L. v. V.L. centered around two women who raised three children together and then later separated. Thinkprogress reports that at the time, Alabama had a ban as it concerned same-sex adoption. Having rented a residence in Georgia, the couple established a legal adoption of the children. Upon separating, E.L., who was the biological mother of the children, brought legal action against V.L. in order to dissolve her rights of visitation. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of E.L. They explained that in 2007, Alabama would not have recognized Georgia’s position on adoption. Therefore, the adoption was void.
Alabama anti-gay ruling is struck down by the Supreme Court based on the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of the United States Constitution. Breitbart explains that under the clause, states are required to respect the records and proceedings established by other states. Keeping with this stream of thought, SCOTUS ruled that Alabama failed to meet their obligation to recognize the decision of the Georgia court. Referred as subject matter jurisdiction, Georgia had legally decided on the issue at hand. Since Georgia was the court of original jurisdiction, the legitimacy of the decision was not subject to challenge. Having erred in their decision, the Alabama court was reversed.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the decision by SCOTUS is viewed as a cultural shift as it relates to gender rights. Cathy Sakimura, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, described the ruling as a victory that reaches all adopted families and not just those that are same-sex. Sakimura continued her statement by pointing out that adoptive parents and children are now relieved of the uncertainty brought by the possibility of separation.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, several gay rights groups are hopeful that Alabama’s anti-gay ruling having been struck down by the Supreme Court is the catalyst that will assist in continuing national conversations about recognizing the legal rights as they relate to same-sex couples. Gabriel Blau, executive director of the Family Equality Council, expressed that this case is evidence that society has shifted in the manner through which they view this question. She expanded her commentary by rhetorically, asking if we are to be a nation who provides protection for their children or will we act conversely.
By Garrett Sayers
Breitbart: Supreme Court – States Must Recognize Child Adoptions From Other States
Thinkprogress: Supreme Court Slaps Down Anti-Gay Alabama Justices In Adoption Case
USATODAY: Supreme Court reverses Alabama court that denied lesbian woman’s adoption
The Christian Science Monitor: Supreme Court: Alabama can’t negate lesbian mother’s adoptive rights
Image Courtesy of Ted Eytan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License