In the past several years, the rights of same-sex couples and parents have seen some important shifts, from the legalization of same-sex marriage to changes in adoption laws. However, as promising as these developments have been for the LGBT community and supporters, there are still difficult legal obstacles to overcome.
For example, one case involving the parental rights of an adoptive mother has been making headlines in recent months. The woman, who is a lesbian and was in a committed relationship with her children's biological mother, struggled to protect her visitation rights as two state governments disagreed on the law. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling recently restoring her rights.
If you are unfamiliar with this case, here is a broad overview of the dispute. When the women were together, they secured adoptive rights for the non-biological mother in Georgia. When a dispute arose between the two women after they broke up, the adoptive mother took legal action to enforce her rights in Alabama, where they were living.
A ruling granting visitation to the adoptive mother was made, but then overturned by the state's Supreme Court. It concluded that Georgia misunderstood its own laws and it challenged jurisdiction.
Recently, the case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court who overturned Alabama's decision that stripped the adoptive mother of her rights. The Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama court did not have the authority to disregard Georgia's ruling just because it disagreed. As a result, the adoptive mother's visitation rights were restored.
This is just one example of the unique and complicated legal challenges gay and lesbian people all across the U.S. face when it comes to their rights as a spouse and as a parent. It can also serve as a reminder of the complexities that come with adoption and the difficulties that arise when state laws differ.
If you or a loved one is facing issues in any of these areas in Florida, you should know that you do not need to figure them out alone. You can seek the guidance and support of an attorney experienced in family law.
Source: The New York Times, "Supreme Court Restores Visitation Rights to Lesbian Adoptive Mother," Adam Liptak, March 7, 2016