A case involving same-sex adoption in Georgia is denied recognition in Alabama. The Alabama Supreme Court found the Decree of Adoption void because the parental rights of the biological mother were not termination prior to the adoption. The Court further found that this was an unfulfilled requirement under Georgia Law and that if the case had been challenged in Georgia, the appellate court in Georgia would have also found the Decree of Adoption void. Therefore, the Court refused to give the judgment
The Alabama Supreme Court is referencing The Official Code of Georgia § 19-8-5 (a) when a child is to be adopted by a third party: “Except as otherwise authorized in this chapter, a child who has any living parent or guardian may be adopted by a third party who is neither the stepparent nor relative of that child, as described in subsection (a) of Code Sections 19-8-6 and 19-8-7, only if each such living parent and each such guardian has voluntarily and in writing surrendered all of his rights to the child to that third person for the purpose of enabling that person to adopt the child”.
The problem some have with the ruling is that it involves a lesbian couple, artificial insemination where one partner gave birth to the children and other adopted. The biological mother fully consented to the adoptions. However, the Alabama Court argues the consent is not enough. It was her parental rights staying intact that is the issue.
The National Center of Lesbian Rights released a statement that “Although the Alabama Supreme Court recognized that full faith and credit prohibits a state from inquiring into the laws applied by a court from another state, it ruled that Alabama did not have to respect the Georgia court’s adoption because the Court believed that Georgia law did not allow same-sex parents to adopt,”
Attorney Tiffany Lunn thinks that what this case showcases more than anything is the changes in family structures that are underway that the law in many states have not taken into account. New and emerging laws will be making their footprints across the county. State appellate courts will be busy determining in what direction their state will go. Stay tune to see what direction, the appellate courts in Georgia take.