Important marriage case stands
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving a male same-sex couple who wanted their names on their adopted son’s birth certificate as both being his parents.
Mickey Smith and Oren Adar, the unmarried same-sex male couple, adopted a Louisiana-born child in 2006 and wanted to change the child’s birth certificate to state that he had two fathers.
In Louisiana, only married couples may jointly adopt a child and state law defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman which is why Smith and Adar’s relationship is not considered legal in Louisiana. Although the state registrar could not place both of their names on the birth certificate as they requested in 2006, she did suggest placing one of their names on the birth certificate as Louisiana does permit single-parent adoption according to the Christian Post.
Smith and Adar sued claiming that this was a violation of their Equal Protection under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
The case was brought to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court reviewed similar Supreme Court cases such as a case in Oklahoma in 2007. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals gave a similar ruling stating that the state is not required to enforce out of state law when it is conflicting from in state law according to the Associated Press. Although similar cases involving same-sex adoption have occurred, no cases have been brought to the Court of Appeals prior to the Louisiana case.
After reviewing cases such as the Oklahoma case, “U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey found that the law was so clear that no trial was needed,” according to the Associated Press.
“This decision is a big victory for natural family and for states to protect marriage and family,” Liberty Counsel said who filed an amicus brief on the case.
The Court concluded that Louisiana could not be forced to recognize a New York same-sex union or adoption as being valid in Louisiana. Therefore, Louisiana is not required to change the birth certificate from stating the child’s biological parents to stating the child had two “dads” according to Liberty Counsel.
“A Louisiana state senator from Shreveport proposed a bill last year that would have made it illegal for birth certificates to carry names of people not allowed to adopt together under Louisiana law,” the Associated Press said. “However, he shelved it after other members of a Senate judiciary committee questioned the attempt to retroactively change state law to influence a federal court case.”
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals specifically concluded that Louisiana is not required to enforce an adoption contrary to the state law. The court ruled “the full faith and credit clause does not oblige Louisiana to confer particular benefits on unmarried parents contrary to its law” according to a Liberty Counsel news release.
“The Court’s decision will help protect states that have laws which affirm marriage as one man and one woman so that they will not be forced to follow another state’s same-sex union law,” Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said. “About 44 states have state constitutional amendments or express laws affirming marriage as one man and one woman, prohibiting same-sex unions.”