Manhattan Appeals Court Revives Kelly Gunn’s Custody Lawsuit Against Circe Hamilton

A five-judge panel of the New York State Appellate Division, First Department, based in Manhattan, has revived a lawsuit by Kelly Gunn, who is seeking joint custody of a child adopted by her former partner, Circe Hamilton. New York Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo had dismissed the lawsuit on April 13, 2017, finding that despite her close relationship with the child, Gunn was not a “parent” under New York’s Domestic Relations Law, so lacked “standing” … <Read More>

Arizona Appeals Court Rejects Lesbian Co-Parent’s Bid to Be Recognized as Adoptive Parent Based on Her Spouse’s Adoption When They Were Married

The Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 1, affirmed a ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Suzanne E. Cohen, holding that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015), does not require Arizona to retroactively deem a woman to be a legal parent of children adopted by her same-sex spouse at a time when Arizona did not recognize their same-sex marriage or allow second-parent adoptions.  Judge Jon … <Read More>

Lesbian Co-Parent Seeks Expedited Supreme Court Review of Alabama Refusal to Recognize Adoption

Attorneys for V.L., the adoptive mother of children born to her former same-sex partner, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to review an erroneous decision by the Alabama Supreme Court to refuse to recognize the adoption that was approved by the Georgia Superior Court, and have also asked SCOTUS to restore her visitation rights while the appeal is pending by suspending the Alabama Supreme Court’s order in the case.  The petitions were filed on … <Read More>

The Bitter-Enders in the World of Marriage Equality

When the Supreme Court says it’s done, then it’s done, right?  Well, not necessarily in Mississippi, where resistance to the impact and consequences of marriage equality lingers.  In recent days, the Mississippi Supreme Court has weighed in — sort of — on gay divorce, and a trial judge in Hinds County heard arguments about the state’s continuing ban on “same-sex” adoption.

The divorce case, Czekala v. State, No. 2014-CA-00008-SCT (Nov. 5, 2015), involves a lesbian … <Read More>

Virgin Islands Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Second-Parent Adoptions

On May 20 the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands ruled that the Superior Court erred when it dismissed a second-parent adoption petition on the ground that the Virgin Islands did not recognize the Canadian same-sex marriage of the petitioners and granting the co-parent’s petition would require terminating the parental rights of the birth mother.  In re L.O.F. & N.M., 2015 V.I. Supreme LEXIS 13.  Eschewing a literal reading of the archaic adoption statutes, … <Read More>

NY Judge Rules That State Ban on Gestational Surrogacy is No Impediment for Second Parent Adoption

Ruling on a previously-undecided question under New York law, Queens County Family Court Judge Barbara Salinitro has decided that New York’s ban on surrogacy contracts does not present an impediment to her consideration of an adoption petition from the same-sex spouse of a man whose twins were conceived and born through a gestational surrogacy contract with a woman in India. The April 3 ruling in Matter of J.J., 2014 N.Y. Slip Op 24089, notes the … <Read More>

Idaho Supreme Court Says Co-Parent Can Adopt Partner’s Children

The five-member Idaho Supreme Court ruled unanimously on February 10 that the state’s adoption law would allow second-parent adoptions, reversing a decision by Ada County Magistrate Judge Cathleen MacGregor-Irby, who had dismissed an adoption petition on the ground that the petitioner’s California marriage to the children’s legal mother was not recognized in Idaho. The opinion for the court in “In re Doe,” 2014 Ida. LEXIS 34, by Justice Jim Jones gave a literal interpretation of … <Read More>

N.Y. Surrogate Denies Second-Parent Adoption for Married Lesbian Mom

Claiming that a married lesbian had no need to adopt the child born to her same-sex spouse, Kings County (Brooklyn) Surrogate Court Judge Margarita Lopez Torres refused to entertain her adoption petition in Matter of Seb C-M, NYLJ 1202640083455 (Jan. 6, 2014).

Torres reasoned that under New York’s Marriage Equality Law, same-sex marriages enjoy the same presumptions of parental status that are accorded to different-sex marriages. Thus, a child born to a married woman is … <Read More>

New York Surrogate Court Approves Gay Father’s Adoption of Child as Co-Parent with Straight Mother

There’s a subtext to New York County Surrogate Court Judge Rita Mella’s adoption decision, Matter of the Adoption of a Child Whose First Name is G, which is published January 6, 2014, in the New York Law Journal.  The man petitioning to be adoptive parent of G, a little girl born in Ethiopia who was adopted in 2011 by the man’s close friend, is gay, and the child’s adoptive mother is not gay.  Therein lies … <Read More>

ECHR: Unmarried Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples Entitled to Equal Treatment

A Grand Chamber (17 judges) of the European Court of Human Rights (based in Strasbourg) ruled on February 19 that Austria violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by maintaining a statutory scheme under which “second-parent” adoptions are available for unmarried different-sex couples but not for same-sex couples (who do not have the right to marry in Austria).  By a vote of 10-7, the court found that the applicants … <Read More>