Homosexual Couples Challenge Adoption Law
Special Report - June 15, 2012
North Carolina’s adoption law is the target of a new federal lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation on behalf of six homosexual couples who are challenging the state’s long-standing prohibition on adoption by unmarried couples. The lawsuit, Fisher-Borne vs. Smith, was filed by the ACLU on behalf of five lesbian couples and one gay couple in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina on June 13.
The lawsuit seeks to legalize so-called “second-parent” adoption in North Carolina, a legal tactic that homosexual activists are using nationwide that allows an unmarried partner to petition the court to adopt the biological child of his or her partner. According to the ACLU, 20 states currently allow some form of second-parent adoption, while five states prohibit it. In North Carolina, only married couples and single individuals may adopt children. Although North Carolina does not have a specific law banning second-parent adoption, a 2010 ruling by the State Supreme Court in Boseman v. Jarrell determined that second-parent adoption is not legal here and voided what had amounted to a second-parent adoption decree by the lower courts by allowing Julia Boseman to jointly adopt the biological child of her former partner, Melissa Jarrell. Importantly, the Boseman case also involved a custody dispute between the couple, and the Supreme Court left the joint custody agreement intact, allowing both women to share custody of the child.
This lawsuit is a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Boseman case. The complaint alleges that “North Carolina’s categorical prohibition on second parent adoption violates the constitutional rights and protections of children, who face direct and substantial deprivations legal, psychological and otherwisesimply because they are being raised by gay or lesbian parents, and violates the rights of those parents, who face similar direct and substantial burdens on their rights simply because they are gay or lesbian.”
According to the ACLU complaint, “each family [in the lawsuit] consists of a child or children being raised by two gay or lesbian parents who are in committed, long-term relationships with each other,” and where “the child has a legally recognized relationship with only one parent (either through birth or adoption)...” The complaint continues, “Specifically, in each of the plaintiff families, the non-legal parent wishes to apply to adopt the child or children he or she is currently raising as the partner of the legal parent (a process that is often referred to as “second parent adoption”).” The ACLU’s blog features You Tube videos of two of the lesbian couples who are involved in the lawsuit. In one video, plaintiffs, Megan Parker and Shana Carignan, talk about raising their son, Jax, who has cerebral palsy, and was adopted by Parker. “If second-parent adoption was legal, I think it would make us feel like a family in the eyes of the state,” says Carignan, who is seeking to legally adopt the boy.
“Bringing this case under the federal constitution is a big deal,” writes James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and AIDS Project, about the case, “because if we win, the ruling likely would affect other states in addition to North Carolina.”
“North Carolina’s adoption laws have always been based on the best interest of the child,” said Jere Royall, legal counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “And thousands of studies across a variety of disciplines show that the best environment for raising children is with a married father and mother. Additionally, an important new national study by leading sociologist Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin reveals key differences in the wellbeing of young adults who were raised by homosexual parents compared to those raised by married moms and dads, including that these children are more likely to have poor educational outcomes, to identify as homosexual or bisexual, and have lower levels of mental and physical health."
Problems With Same-Sex Parenting Research - March 12, 2012
Group Issues Parenting Guidelines - September 12, 2011
“Why Gender Matters to Parenting,” - FNC- Spring 2011
Court Rules Same-Sex Adoption Void - December 21, 2010
Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Adoption Case - September 9, 2010
Brief Filed In Same-Sex Adoption Case - March 3, 2010
Copyright © 2012. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.