Thursday, February 18, 2010

Louisiana must issue birth certificate naming two dads

After Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith completed an adoption in New York of a child born in Louisiana, the couple sought a new Louisiana birth certificate for the child containing the names of the two men as her parents. Louisiana refused to do it, saying it was against the state's public policy to recognize two fathers for the child.

The federal district court in Louisiana ordered the state to issue the birth certificate. Today that decision was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Thank you, Full Faith and Credit Clause. That's the section of the US Constitution that requires states to recognize the court judgments of other states. This provision is the absolute key to assuring that children who are the subject of adoption decrees or parentage orders in one state will still have two parents when they move to another state. The Adar v. Smith (Smith happened to be the name of Louisiana's State Registrar -- no relation to Adar's partner, Mickey Smith) ruling restates what the US Supreme Court has said continuously, that there is no "public policy" exception to the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Judgments from a state court are different from a state's statutes. Statutes are not entitled to Full Faith and Credit. Had Adar and Smith become parents of their son by virtue of their marriage or civil union, for example, Louisiana might not have been required to recognize their dual parentage. It's a word to the wise for all same-sex couples having children. Get to a lawyer. Get a court order.

Louisiana could petition the US Supreme Court to review the decision of the 5th Circuit. I'd bet my legal career the Supreme Court would choose not to hear the case. The 5th Circuit also governs Mississippi and Texas, so those states, too, have now been read the riot act on trying to get out of what the Full Faith and Credit clearly requires, whether they want children to have two same-sex parents or not.

3 comments:

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

I know this is off topic of your post, but I am trying to get the word out-
I am a adoptive parent in Seattle and just launched a line of fabric for multi-ethnic, lesbian, gay, and single parent families called "The New American Family Line" you can see it here :

http://www.etsy.com/shop/manoallamano

Rick said...

Louisiana's rules and law are very strict, it's not that easy to come and try to adopt a child and then recognize two men as parents. I once saw a guy on the news that wanted to be accepted as a child's father but the real thing was that he actually wanted a package of Generic Viagra the child had under the floor so it was very convenient.

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