Citing Gay Marriage Ban, Ala. Court Denies Lesbian Adoption Rights


The Alabama Court of Appeals offered its thoughts on a lesbian couple's fight to extend adoption rights to both women, and it's thoughts are pretty traditional.

Even though Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand have been together for 14 years and were married during the brief time California allowed same-sex nuptials, Alabama does not recognize gay marriage; Searcy therefore is "not the spouse of the child's mother," the 5-judge court's unanimous decision said, and cannot adopt their 6-year old son.

Of course, I was disappointed, but I guess we were kind of expecting it,” Searcy said after the ruling yesterday. Openly gay state Rep. Patricia Todd offered more pointed, politicized thoughts, "If we truly care about the welfare of children, it’s most important that they be in a loving family. It restricts the ability to raise the child if only one parent can have custody."

Republican lawmaker Gerald Allen, a state senator, of course celebrated the news, saying the ruling "solidifies the fact the institution of marriage includes a man and a woman raising the children."

Gay or straight couples that cannot reproduce or choose not to have children, it appears, need not apply.


  1. MiddleoftheRoader says

    This is how DOMA is going to go down in flames, but the facts in the case of these two women are not really good — so we need to await the next case. Apparently they were married in CA (when it was legal), but it seems they did not have their child while living in CA — or if they did, for some reason they didn’t pursue recognition of both spouses as parents. If they had their child when they left CA, then for some reason they apparently didn’t pursue two-parent adoption (or recognition as equal parents) in another state outside of CA where same-sex marriage is recognized (for example, NY or NH or MA or DC or ….). So, it’s no surprise that Alabama didn’t allow both of them to be recognized as parents due to Alabama’s law that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. HOWEVER, CONSIDER THIS ………

    If these women (or the next couple) had their child in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage and thus recognizes two same-sex parents (like NY), and then if they moved to Alabama — there is NO WAY that any court is going to say that the child suddenly has only 1 parent when the couple crossed the state line from NY to Alabama. It doesn’t matter what DOMA says, or what Alabama law says …. the courts (and, I predict, the US Supreme Court) will never say that a child “loses” a parent when s/he is taken by both parents into a state that doesn’t recognize the parents as being married. That result would violate Due Process, Equal Protection, Privileges & Immunities, the Commerce Clause / right to travel, and lots of other sections of the US Constitution.

    Someone needs to find the right case and bring it in Alabama in some other way — for example, both same-sex parents “sign up” as parents at their child’s public school or a public hospital so each has the right to take the child out of class or to make a medical decision for the child at the hospital. And then when the school or hospital refuses to recognize that both parents are legal parents, the courts will strike down that result in a heartbeat.


  2. Icebloo says

    Better get used to this. This will happen more and more if Romney wins the election so GET OUT THERE AND VOTE OBAMA ! Get your friends and family to vote Obama.

  3. petensfo says

    Well, as stated above… this is why we need Marriage Equality recognized at the Federal level… otherwise, good gay families, especially those with children, will be held hostage by the bigotry of individual States.

    DOMA can’t die quick enough. I sure hope Olson & Boise are one step ahead of those nutjobs on the SCOTUS!

  4. BobN says


    I don’t think your analysis is correct. The same-sex marriages conducted in California while it was possible are legal marriages, recognized as marriages by the state of California and as marriages by any jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages. Alabama would ignore a NY marriage just as easily.

    I’m not sure what the residential requirements are for second-parent adoption in NY or CA, but if the parents could swing it, they could move, adopt, and return to Alabama. Alabama would would be hard pressed to ignore the adoption.

  5. Bart says

    First off, the Seracy-McKeand family is very beautiful. I’m not sure the facts of this case. But if they both adopted their son in California, Alabama has nothing to say about it. But that must not be the case.

    In the short run, I suggest they move. In the long run, I suggest they move. Alabama will be one of the last states to move forward with marriage equality even once DOMA is a thing of the past.

  6. stevemd2 says

    Its ALABAMA need I say more. I knew a gay kid whose best friend was killed in an auto crash.

    Because the dead kid had gay friends, his mom didnt even go to his funeral

    As usual, the poeple who most oppose gay marriage – she was divorced.

  7. Jesse Johnson says

    What do you mean, she cannot adopt ‘their’ child? They had a child? No, THEY didn’t, either. And just why are they trying to adopt? So they can pretend to be a family — when they can’t reproduce in the first place? Hey, Alabama is right. If you want to be gay, you pay the price be being unable to do other things. There are consequences. And Alabama is just recognizing reality — that you can’t have children — when it makes these kind of decisions. Some straight couples can’t have children, either, but that is involuntary. Not the same deal.

  8. Diogenes Arktos says

    MA’s process was to grant LGBT adoption rights and suitable other rights first. The MA Supreme Court then issued its “if it looks like a duck …” ruling declaring LGBT marriage legal.

    @Jesse Jackson: If a straight married couple adopts a child – are they a family? If AL law allows single-parent adoptions, if a straight (or gay) parent adopts – are they a family? BTW – There are also straight couples who choose not to have children. What about them?

  9. James says

    So if Romney wins, do gay Americans really have 4-8 more years of hell? Kind of hard to believe that there is a possibility of no gay rights for the next 10 years or maybe even longer. Isn’t it about time gay people started demanding rights? Sticking up for themselves?

  10. James says

    Are you serious Jesse Johnson? There are “consequences” to being gay? Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was a little kid who needs to have my life dictated to me because of my “decisions.” I must remember that next time when I talk to a heterosexual person, that what they say goes.

  11. MiddleoftheRoader says

    Bobn — good discussion, but here’s why I think my prior analysis is correct.

    First, as to adoption that is done through a COURT process, the US Constitution requires every state to give “full faith and credit” to the judicial decisions of another state. There are very, very limited exceptions to this requirement, and the bigots are trying to make same-sex parent adoptions as one exception. But they will probably lose, mostly because even if a state refuses to recognize same-sex marriage, it can (and must, per the “full faith and credit clause”) recognize that BOTH women (or both men) have been identified as parents by a court ruling in another state. Alabama might say that these 2 women are not married, but it cannot say that they are not both parents of the children. (In states where adoption occurs without going through a court, but with a state agency review and approval, then “full faith and credit” would not apply).

    Second, let’s assume that these 2 women were married in a state (like New Hampshire) which recognizes same-sex marriage and the children were born to one of them while they lived in that state. Under the laws of that state, both married partners would be recognized as parents of a child born to one parent. There is no court decree involved, so no “full faith and credit” if the women then move to Alabama. However, the parent-child relationship that each woman had with each child is a protected “liberty” interest which cannot be taken away by another state without due process, nor can that parent-child relationship be eliminated if it violates equal protection of the law. So this is NOT about whether Alabama can say that these women are married; instead, it’s about whether Alabama can refuse to recognize a parent-child relationship that existed (for years) in another state. I am 99% certain that no court would allow Alabama to say that these children went from two-parents (when they lived in NH) to one parent (when they moved to Alabama). Boies, Olson, and other lawyers would jump at the chance to take a case like that because even the Supreme Court wouldn’t allow that result (now, if Romney wins and nominates more Scalia and Alito and Thomas clones, it’s a different story).

    I realize that this discussion will not make many people happy because it still allows Alabama to reject the idea that the 2 women are married — even though it prevents Alabama from denying the fact that the kids have two moms. But this is only one of many steps in eventually eliminating DOMA and eventually recognizing same-sex marriage everywhere.

    It’s the practical and economic stuff that is going to be the downfall of DOMA and similar laws. When people move from state to state, they and their families can’t be bounced around depending on whether a state sees them as married or not…’s just a matter of time. That’s why the bigots want to stop the spread of same-sex marriage to other states, because it advances the day when these practical problems will lead to the downfall of DOMA.

  12. millerbeach says

    Yes, Jesse, you said it best…”And Alabama is just recognizing reality”. It is that “reality” and about 837 other reasons as to why I would never, ever consider living in the deep south. No thank you to hicksville and ignorant ideas and ignorant people. Yup, I’m lumping everyone down there together, and it is just too bad. Go ahead, southern man, prove me wrong. I’d just love to be wrong on this one, for once. Make my day…

  13. ***** says

    Jesse Johnson, that which you see staring at you from that large reflective surface in your bathroom is an autographed picture of ignorance with a dash of stupidity.

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