The Supreme Court on Monday set aside
an Alabama Supreme Court order denying a lesbian mother visitation
rights to her three children.
The two women involved in the case –
referred to in court documents as V.L. and E.L. – are not married
and have since split. While they live in Alabama, in 2007 they set
up a temporary home in Georgia thinking that the state would be more
accommodating to their adoption request.
On September 18, the Alabama Supreme
Court issued an order refusing to recognize V.L.'s Georgia adoption
order and declaring it void, stripping her of all visitation rights.
It was uncertain whether the high
court's order would mean that V.L.'s visitation rights would be
restored as the case moves forward. Attorneys representing the women
offered conflicting interpretations.
“Today's ruling by the Supreme Court
means that our client can resume visitation with her three children,”
said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Director Shannon
Minter, who is representing the adoptive mother.
“I'm overjoyed that my children and I
will be able to be together again,” V.L.
said. “It's been so long – more time than I ever thought I
could bear – since we have been able to be together and just do the
everyday things that parents do with their children, like having
dinner together and helping them with their homework.”
“I adopted my children more than
eight years ago to be sure that I could always be there to protect
them. This terrible Alabama decision has hurt my family and will
hurt so many other families if it is not corrected,” she added.