While the fate of gay marriage in Utah remains unclear, so too does the status of adoptions of children by gay couples granted following Judge Robert J. Shelby’s decision back in December that struck down the Beehive State's ban on same-sex marriage. As Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City reports, the Utah Attorney General’s office has filed emergency petitions this week with the state Supreme Court, “asking the court to deny orders from judges who have already approved the adoptions”:
In one petition, the state argued that 3rd District Court Judge Elizabeth A. Hruby-Mills’ decision “authorizes the department to violate the plain text of the Utah Constitution and Utah law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage…”
They went on to say, “The trial court abused its discretion.”
In its arguments before the 10th circuit, Gene Schaer, the attorney representing the state of Utah, reiterated the argument made by the state in its brief filed for the court, that to confer marriage rights to same sex couples would be to change “the primary role of marriage from being child-centric to adult-centric.” The state’s brief against same-sex marriage suggested that to allow same-sex couples to marry in Utah would irreparably harm the state’s tradition of marriage (a sterling one, to be sure).
Despite the hurdles, couples have been persistent in trying to ensure the state recognizes their adoption as legal and valid. Kimberly and Amber Leary were one of the first couples to marry when the ruling came down in December from Judge Shelby. After saying ‘I do,’ the Learys filed for second parent adoption like many other gay couples in the state. As Amber is the biological mother, only she is currently recognized as a legal parent of their daughter born in 2012. However, they’ve been fighting to change that. From Fox 13:
“This entire process has been celebration one day, crying the next, celebration one day, crying the next,” Kimberly Leary said.
Sitting in a waiting room at the Department of Health, she and her wife Amber Leary feel right at home.
“We’ve been here an hour...We’re going to get the birth certificate with both of our names on it,” Amber said. “That’s it, a piece of paper with both of our names on it saying that we’re her legal parents.” […]
Laura Gray, who represents the couple in Hruby-Mills’ case, spoke about the issue.
“They claim that they want to protect Utah’s children, but they are intentionally harming these children by injecting themselves into these cases,” Gray said. “We don’t understand why the Attorney General has to take this extraordinary step of now trying to undo completed adoptions.” [...]
“You just keep fighting, mostly for our child that she sees that, hey, we’re doing the right thing. We’re fighting for you; we’re fighting for us, for her constitutional rights,” said the Learys.
Watch FOX13's report, AFTER THE JUMP...