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Alabama Supreme Court rejects lesbian couple’s adoption granted in Georgia

Alabama Supreme Court
Alabama Supreme Court

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court Friday ruled the state does not have to legally recognize the adoption of three children by a lesbian woman which was granted by a Georgia court in 2007.

The two women involved in the case are identified as E.L. v. V.L in order to protect privacy.

The three children were conceived and born through artificial insemination during a long term relationship between  the two women.

Because Alabama at the time would not approve adoptions by same-sex couples, the two women moved to Fulton County Georgia, where a judge was “receptive to same-sex parents seeking such.”

V.L., the non-biological mother, adopted the three children with the Georgia court’s approval. After the two women ended their relationship in 2011, the biological mother, E.L, refused to allow V.L. to see the children. With the family living once again in Alabama, E.L. refused V.L.’s request to visit the children, arguing that 2007 Georgia adoption was invalid in Alabama.

Having first been appealed to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in October 2014, it was ruled that the Jefferson County judge had erred when allowing V.L. visitation rights to the children. Earlier this year the appeals court ruling was reversed thus taking the case to the Alabama Supreme Court.

The Court found that Alabama did not recognize the Georgia adoption by the non-biological mother, V.L., because the court found the Georgia court didn’t properly apply contemporary Georgia law.

According to Alabama Justice Tom Parker, adoption is not a fundamental right, but a privilege.

“Alabama has unequivocally held that adoption is a purely statutory right; an Alabamian’s right to adopt does not exist apart from Alabama’s positive law,” wrote Parker. “Thus, adoption is a privilege, not a right.”

The lone dissenter, Alabama Justice Greg Shaw, argued the Alabama Supreme Court doesn’t have the right to determine whether or not Georgia applied its own law in this case of legal adoption.

To view the entire Alabama Supreme Court ruling of E.L v. V.L. is available on the Court’s website.