Alabama’s Supreme Court refused to recognize a lesbian woman’s adoption Friday, drawing criticism from gay rights activists and raising questions about the future of same-sex adoptions.
The case centered around a lesbian couple who shared custody of three children but later split up. One of them gave birth to the children with the help of a sperm donor, and her partner later adopted the children while living in Georgia, so they could both be the official, legal parents.
The biological mother, who now lives in Alabama, tried to keep the children from the adoptive mother after the couple parted ways, sparking the legal battle. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that Alabama did not have to recognize the adoption made in Georgia, stripping the adoptive mother of her rights to the children.
The court reasoned that Georgia did not properly rule on it’s own laws regarding same-sex adoption and that the state has a vested interest in making sure adopted children have good homes, something gay rights groups have issues with.
“The Alabama Supreme Court’s refusal to recognize an adoption granted eight years ago harms not only these children, but all children with adoptive parents,” The National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura said in a statement. “Children who are adopted must be able to count on their adoptions being final—allowing an adoption to be found invalid years later because there may have been a legal error in the adoption puts all adopted children at risk of losing their forever families.”