Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Adoption Case
Special Report - September 9, 2010
The North Carolina State Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a landmark adoption case involving a biological mother who is challenging her former same-sex partner’s adoption of her son. The case, Boseman v. Jarrell, could very well determine whether adoption by same-sex partners is legal in North Carolina. The case began when State Senator Julia Boseman filed suit against her former partner, Melissa Jarrell, seeking custodial rights to Jarrell’s biological son, who Jarrell conceived through artificial insemination while they were cohabiting. Jarrell and Boseman had earlier obtained a decree of adoption from a Durham County District Court judge, who waived the severance of parental (Jarrell’s) rights that is mandated by law for direct adoptions, and who allowed an unmarried partner (Boseman), who was not related to the child to be recognized as a second parent. Such adoptions are not allowed under North Carolina law. The adoption has since been upheld by the District Court in New Hanover County and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Jarrell is now estranged from Boseman and seeks to have the adoption declared void, so she can retain sole custody of her child. She appealed the Court of Appeals’ decision to the Supreme Court.
During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Boseman's attorney contended that the District Court followed the intent of the state’s adoption statute in making the interest of the adoptee primary, when it waived the adoption law mandate that Jarrell’s parental rights be severed at the time of the adoption. They went on to argue that Jarrell had consented, that no fraud or duress was alleged, and that the reasonable time had passed for Melissa Jarrell to challenge the adoption.
The attorneys for Jarrell argued that the District Court in Durham exceeded its power and subject matter jurisdiction by granting an adoption that did not follow North Carolina’s legal requirements for agency, direct, or step-parent adoptions. This would make the adoption void from the beginning. They argued that the subject matter jurisdiction of the court rests on the law, and not on the conduct of the parties.
A decision is not expected from the Supreme Court for several months.
The North Carolina Family Policy Council was one of the organizations on an amicus brief filed before the Supreme Court in this case.
Brief Filed In Same-Sex Adoption Case - March 3, 2010
Court Indirectly Affirms Homosexual Adoption - August 21, 2009
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