Homosexual Adoption Review Requested
Special Report - November 6, 2009
The North Carolina Family Policy Council (NCFPC) joined several groups in filing a motion asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision to allow same-sex adoption in the state. The motion, which was filed October 2, also requests that the NCFPC, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Action League of North Carolina, the Christian Family Law Association, and NC4Marriage be allowed to file a friend of the court brief in the case.
The motion is in response to a North Carolina Court of Appeals decision in Boseman v. Jarrell, which granted joint custody of a minor child to two lesbian partners, one of whom is State Senator Julia Boseman (DNew Hanover). The child’s biological mother, Melissa Jarrell, and Boseman are ex-partners. During their relationship, a District Court in Durham allowed Boseman to adopt the child despite her inability to qualify as a step-parent, since the couple could not marry, and without enforcing the statutory requirement that parental rights and duties must be severed as a prerequisite to adoption. The Court of Appeals ruled that “After careful review, we conclude that the adoption decree, even if erroneous or contrary to law, was not void.”
Jarrell has filed a Petition for Discretionary Review with the State Supreme Court asking for a review of the Court of Appeals’ ruling in the case and a declaration of the adoption as void, since the state’s adoption statutes do not allow for such adoptions. The NCFPC and other groups’ request outlined four primary concerns. First, courts should not expand the scope of North Carolina adoption statutes and child custody laws to give same-sex partners of birth parents adoptive and custodial rights. Secondly, the Court of Appeals’ actions constitute judicial activisma violation of the Judiciary’s responsibility to interpret the law as made by the General Assembly. Thirdly, the Court of Appeals’ decision introduces chaos into the State’s adoption jurisprudence by muddling the legality of birth parents retaining parental rights while simultaneously facilitating the adoption of their child by an unrelated person to whom they are not married. The Supreme Court must address the question of whether unmarried couples, regardless of sexual orientation, may adopt children. Finally, the ruling condones an unequal administration of the law by allowing local courts to set adoption policy, regardless of adoption statute language.
Boseman’s response to Jarrell’s Petition argues that the Court only needs to consider the best interest of the child, and that having two parents, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or marital status, is best for him. Both parties and the groups with whom the NCFPC filed its motion must wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether or not it will hear the case.
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