Three children 2 mothers -Who gets custody?
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One same-sex couple climbed the judicial ladder before finally reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in an ugly child custody battle.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The women, identified only by the initials E.L. and V.L., had three children during their 17-year relationship. E.L gave birth and V.L was granted parental rights from a Georgia court.
When the couple decided to break up, V.L. sued E.L. all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court for child custody.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that Georgia never had the right to give V.L. parental rights and therefore overruled Georgia's decision.
E.L's joint custody lawyers argued "the Georgia court had no no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit."
When V.L. took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, they reversed the Alabama Supreme Court's decision and said: "A state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits," meaning Alabama must give "full faith and credit" to the Georgia court's ruling.
Second-parent adoptions benefit parents who are not biologically related and allows children to have two legal parents. The second-parent adoptions also serve as safety nets for children when their biological parent is involved in an accident and is suddenly left dead or incapacitated.
V.L.'s lawyers believe her case will spearhead a movement in the same-sex community.
During the hearings, her lawyers pointed out that same-sex adoptions "have been granted since at least the mid-1980s, long before same-sex couples could marry," and they estimated that hundreds of thousands of children have been adopted by their biological parent's same-sex partner.
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, 65,000 adopted children live with their same-sex parents.
Meanwhile, V.L. was overjoyed at the U.S. Supreme Court's decision and told NBC News: "I am overjoyed that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Alabama court decision. I have been my children's mother in every way for their whole lives. I thought that adopting them meant that we would be able to be together always. The Supreme Court has done what's right for my family."
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