Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lambda Legal requests US Supreme Court review of Louisiana birth certificate case

This week, Lambda Legal filed a petition for certiorari in the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to hear an appeal of Adar v. Smith. That case, which I have written about since the first court ruling almost a year and a half ago, challenged Lousiana's refusal to grant an accurate amended birth certificate to a child born in Louisiana and then adopted in New York by a same-sex couple.

In February, the Fifth Circuit, sitting en banc,issued an outrageous opinion upholding Louisiana's position. Although states must give Full Faith and Credit to court judgments from other states (which an adoption decree is), the 5th Circuit said that the couple had no right to sue that state to force its compliance with the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution. The cert petition points out that other Circuit Courts have ruled differently, and a "Circuit split" is one reason the Supreme Court hears cases.

Louisiana justified its policy by saying that it does not allow unmarried couples to adopt, even though denying this child an accurate amended birth certificate has no impact on what adoptions the courts in Louisiana grant. (And has no impact on the fact that this child has two unmarried, same-sex parents). The Lambda cert petition does a great job of demonstrating the long line of cases in which the Supreme Court has ruled that a child should not suffer because of the choices made by his/her parents, including many about children of unmarried parents.

The Supreme Court hears few cases. I hope it takes this one. It's scary to think of losing there, but the 5th Circuit opinion could do a lot of damage if other courts follow its scurrilous reasoning.

4 comments:

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