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Supreme Court Declines Gay Adoption Case

In February 2010, a federal appeals court upheld a December 2008 ruling by U.S. District Court judge Jay Zainey ordering the state of Louisiana to list both names of adopted gay parents, Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith, on their son's birth certificate. Their son was born in Louisiana but they adopted him in New York. The couple now lives in Orlando, and their case was overturned in April.

Louisiana In July, Lambda Legal asked the Supreme Court to take on the case.

The Court has declined:

The court said Tuesday it won’t review a federal appeals court ruling against the adoptive parents. The appeals court ruled that the Louisiana registrar’s insistence that only one father’s name can go on the certificate does not violate the child’s right to equal protection under the law or deny legal recognition of the adoption by both men. The adoption occurred in New York, which allows same-sex couples to adopt.

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  1. I find it baffling that they didn't grant cert here -- and not on the gay issue (the court regularly avoids gay cases because -- surprise, surprise -- they're extremely controversial). Louisiana's refusal to honor a legal adoption from New York is a clear violation of the full faith & credit clause, and I would think SCOTUS would be eager to lay down the law here - especially since the lower courts' holdings are so baffling in their absurd and discriminatory interpretation of the constitution.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Oct 11, 2011 12:46:32 PM


  2. MIKE8787, It is worse than just the 5th Circuit saying that Full Faith & Credit doesn't require Louisiana to issue a new birth certificate 9though they claim the state "recognized" the adoption as valid, but the 5th Circuit ruling also limited 42 U.S.C. §1983 (a federal law authorizing people to sue public officials who violate their rights) in a way that is rather unprecedented given the Supreme Court's expansive interpretation of the statute. The couple should now go back to court and press their equal protection claims, which the 5th Circuit ordered dismissed without the district court ever ruling upon them, otherwise this child's parents will for the rest of the child's childhood have to carry around their New York adoption decree and other documents to establish their legal paternity and relationship to the child.

    Posted by: Craig | Oct 11, 2011 1:38:23 PM


  3. If the adoption was in New York, why doesn't the State of New York issue the amended birth certificate?

    The Full Faith and Credit clause can't actively-force another state to violate it's own laws. Just that it's required to recognize the closest LEGAL-equivalent within it's own laws.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Oct 11, 2011 2:38:23 PM


  4. Conservative cowards.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 11, 2011 2:50:33 PM


  5. I'm confused...the US District Court judge ordered Louisiana to put both names on the birth certificate and the Federal Appeals Court upheld that decision. Who overturned it???

    Posted by: Boone | Oct 11, 2011 2:55:40 PM


  6. I think we need our favorite Harvard constitutional law expert to debrief us on this case!

    Posted by: Doug | Oct 11, 2011 3:46:52 PM


  7. Birth certificates, to nobody's surprise, should be about birth. Frankly, no father's name (except the pregnant man) belongs on it.

    The only information that really belongs on a birth certificate are the child, the person who bore the child, and any doctor or midwife who helped deliver the child.

    What is needed in this case is a certificate showing parents, not birth.

    New York's error should not become Louisiana or Florida's error. Rather, all three states should be required to issue a document that actually serves the need.

    Posted by: Randy | Oct 11, 2011 4:09:52 PM


  8. @Boone: the ruling was upheld by a 3 judge panel at the 5th Circuit. I'm assuming Louisiana appealed their decision to the full 5th Circuit which overturned the opinion of the smaller panel of judges.

    Posted by: VEERS | Oct 11, 2011 6:36:18 PM


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