SCOTUS Blocks Alabama Supreme Court: Estranged Lesbian Mom Can Visit Her Adopted Children

The Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court has sided with a lesbian mother who wants to see her adopted children, blocking an Alabama court’s order that declared the adoption invalid. The justices issued an order Monday in a case that puts on display legal challenges facing gay and lesbian parents even after the Supreme Court decided that same-sex couples have the right to marry.

The case involves a soured relationship between two women, and the three children they raised until the breakup. The children’s birth mother is contesting regular visits between the children and her former partner. Alabama’s highest court refused to recognize the other woman as a parent, saying the adoption they obtained in Georgia was not valid.

More from USA Today:

Adoption rights for same-sex couples is one of the issues remaining in the wake of the high court’s June decision legalizing same-sex marriage. More than 20 states allow gay and lesbian couples “second-parent adoptions.” Such adoptions benefit adults who do not share a biological connection, while ensuring that children have two legal parents — particularly in case one dies or is incapacitated.

The case was brought by “V.L.,” as she is identified in court papers, against her former partner “E.L.” The Alabama couple had three children in 2002 and 2004, but E.L is the birth mother. To get adoption rights for V.L., the couple established temporary residency to Georgia.

Now that they have split up, E.L. agrees with the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled in September that Georgia mistakenly granted V.L. joint custody. Her lawyers argued that “the Georgia court had no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit.”

The plaintiff is represented by the NCLR. From their press release:

“I’m overjoyed that my children and I will be able to be together again,” said V.L. “It’s been so long—more time that I ever thought I could bear—since we have been able to be together and just do the everyday things that parents do with their children, like having dinner together and helping them with their homework. I adopted my children more than eight years ago to be sure that I could always be there to protect them. This terrible Alabama decision has hurt my family and will hurt so many other families if it is not corrected.”

On November 16th, V.L. asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency order permitting her to visit her children—ages 13, 11, and 11—who she hasn’t had visitation with since April, even though she has raised them from their birth. A separate request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Alabama Supreme Court decision refusing to recognize her as an adoptive parent and holding that Alabama does not have to recognize second-parent adoptions granted by Georgia courts is pending.