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Supreme Court Is Asked To Take Messy Interstate Case On Same-Sex Adoption

The State Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., is seen in 2003. The state's top court ruled against the parental rights of a lesbian who adopted her partner's children in Georgia, and she's appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court. Dave Martin/AP hide caption

toggle caption Dave Martin/AP

The State Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., is seen in 2003. The state's top court ruled against the parental rights of a lesbian who adopted her partner's children in Georgia, and she's appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court.

Dave Martin/AP

Lawyers for a lesbian mother in Alabama are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by Alabama's highest court refusing to recognize her parental rights under an adoption granted in Georgia.

V.L. and E.L., as they are referred to in court papers, are two women who were in a committed relationship for nearly 17 years. Although state law prevented them from being married, V.L. took E.L.'s name.

The couple briefly moved to Georgia because the state was more friendly to same-sex adoptions, and when E.L. had three children through artificial insemination, V.L. adopted them so that the two women could be equal co-parents.

In 2011, however, the couple separated, and a custody battle ensued. When V.L. was denied access to the children, two lower courts in Alabama ruled that the Georgia adoption decree must be honored. But the state Supreme Court ruled V.L. had no parental rights because the Georgia courts had misapplied their own state's adoption law.

Now lawyers for V.L. are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate V.L.'s parental rights, contending that the Alabama court has unconstitutionally refused to give full faith and credit to a sister state's adoption law.

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