The Detroit News reports on a landmark Michigan appeals court ruling that not only protects all the children of the state’s gay parents but also stands as an important legal guidepost for courts elsewhere. The appeals court affirmed that the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause requires that states respect each other’s adoption decrees.
With the constitutions of 29 states banning either gay marriage or any type of legal recognition for same-sex couples, the Michigan court drew an important line: Such a ban targets relationships between adults. But adoption remains a relationship between an adult and a child, and states must honor adoption decrees. In late December, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a lesbian’s argument that Ohio’s anti-gay amendment invalidated a court-approved custody agreement she had signed with her partner before their breakup.
And in 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit struck down Oklahoma’s “Adoption Invalidation Law,” which refused to recognize out-of-state adoptions by “more than one individual of the same sex.” Oklahoma also was ordered to give a child who had been born there a birth certificate listing both of her California adoptive mothers as her parents.
Detroit News reporter Deb Price writes, “Regardless of whether states are ready to respect gay couples, they have a responsibility to protect adopted children. And that, as the Michigan court concluded, means honoring their ties to their legal parents.”