Supreme Court: States Must Recognize Child Adoptions from Other States

AP Photo
The Associated Press
Washington, DC

WASHINGTON—Today the Supreme Court held that Alabama courts failed to recognize an adoption by a same-sex couple from Georgia. But this unanimous decision was based purely on the Constitution’s requirement for one state to uphold court decrees from another state and had nothing to do with the LGBT agenda.

A lesbian known in this lawsuit only by her initials, E.L., became pregnant multiple times through artificial means, eventually giving birth to three children. She was living in a same-sex relationship with another lesbian litigating as V.L. from 1995 until 2011, who then went through Georgia’s legal process to become an adoptive parent of E.L.’s child. V.L. became a legal parent of the children.

The lesbian couple was living in Alabama when they decided to end their same-sex relationship. An Alabama court awarded V.L. visitation rights for the children, but E.L. appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court ultimately sided with E.L., giving V.L. no rights to see the children.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion in V.L. v. E.L., the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That provision commands that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”

As the Supreme Court held in 1935, the clause alters “the status of the several states as independent foreign sovereignties, each free to ignore obligations created by the laws or by the judicial proceedings of the others, and to make them integral parts of a single nation.”

While activists may sight this as an LGBT victory, in reality the subject-matter had nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s decision. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, “A State may not disregard the judgment of a sister State because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits. Instead, a state may only disregard the other state’s court if the first court “did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter or the relevant parties.”

Here, the Supreme Court concluded that it was clear that the Georgia court had jurisdiction several years ago to grant V.L.’s petition for adoption. Consequently, Alabama courts could not ignore Georgia’s proceedings in a later in lawsuit filed in Alabama.

Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.