In an important victory for same-sex parents nationwide, a U.S. district judge in Louisiana has ordered the state registrar to recognize the New York adoption of a baby boy by a same-sex couple, saying her refusal to do so violated the U.S. Constitution.
Lambda Legal represented Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, a gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in a New York court, where a judge issued an adoption decree. Smith later applied to get a new birth certificate for the child, in part so he could add his son to his health insurance, and the office of State Registrar Darlene Smith told him Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents.
Lambda’s suit claimed Darlene Smith’s action violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, under which judgments and orders issued by a court in one state must be recognized as legally binding by other states.
U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey agreed Dec. 23 and ordered Darlene Smith to issue a birth certificate showing Adar and Mickey Smith as the boy’s parents.
“It’s been a long three years, but clearly we’re very happy,” said Adar, who now lives with Mickey Smith and their son in San Diego.
Lambda Senior Staff Attorney Ken Upton said the ruling “sends a strong message to state officials across the country that the Constitution requires them to respect the parent-child relationships established by adoption decrees regardless of the state where the decree is entered.”