The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday
reversed 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. – split in 2011,
but were together for about 17 years. 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, 2015, 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
“I have been my children's mother in
every way for their whole lives,” said the adoptive mother in a
statement. “I thought that adopting them meant that we would be
able to be together always. When the Alabama court said my adoption
was invalid and I wasn't their mother, I didn't think I could go on.”
In its opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court
said that the Alabama court had violated Article IV, Section 1 of the
United States Constitution, known as the “full faith and credit”
“A state may not disregard the
judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning
underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits,” the
V.L. was represented by the National
Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“The Supreme Court's reversal of
Alabama's unprecedented decision to void an adoption from another
state is a victory not only for our client but for thousands of
adopted families,” said NCLR Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura.
“No adoptive parent or child should have to face the uncertainty
and loss of being separated years after their adoption just because
another state's court disagrees with the law that was applied in