The same-sex marriage controversy in North Carolina deepened after it was recently announced that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the state to overturn their laws that prevent gay and lesbian couples from adopting their partners’ children. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six couples from the state who are seeking to adopt the children of their partners.
The couples are attempting to receive what’s known as a second parent adoption. This occurs when one unmarried partner adopts the other’s biological or adopted child. The North Carolina Supreme Court has banned such second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples. The ACLU claims that the law prevents same-sex couples from providing for the safety and securing of their children by not allowing them to be adopted.
In 2010, the state Supreme Court held that a lower court made a mistake by approving an adoption by a woman’s same-sex partner. The justices ruled that the same-sex partner was not a legally recognized parent of the minor child. The case at issue involved attempts by former State Sen. Julia Boseman, D-New Hanover, the legislature’s first openly gay member, to adopt her former partner’s biological son.
In their brief the ACLU says that, “There is no basis for the state automatically and categorically to reject any petition for second parent adoption by gay or lesbian parents – without even considering what is best for the children.” The group continues, arguing that, “The question of whether an adoption by a second parent is in an individual child’s best interest can be determined only through an individual review process, not through categorical bans such as that applied in North Carolina.”
The ACLU says that some of the benefits that come with a second-parent adoption include: ensuring that the children in the family are covered if one partner lacks health insurance; ensuring that families will stay together and children will not be taken from their home if something should happen to the biological parent; and ensuring that either parent will be allowed to make medical decisions or be able to be at their child’s bedside if one of their children is hospitalized.
The suit comes on the heels of the move by voters in the state to adopt a constitutional amendment that limits marriage to those between one man and one woman. It remains to be seen how this latest issue will be resolved but expect it to garner a lot of attention as the suit works its way through the legal system.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family matter then you need the help of experienced child custody lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process.
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