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Louisiana same-sex couple wins historic victory

Louisiana has taken its first small steps to acknowledge the rights of non-biological parents in same sex marriages performed in other states.

A 15th Judicial District Court judge recently ruled that the female partner of a woman who gave birth to a son nine years ago is his legal parent. The child will be issued a new birth certificate bearing both parents’ names.

According to Louisiana State University constitutional law adviser Paul Baier, the family is the first in the state to win an intrafamily adoption case involving same sex couples. Baier went on to say, “This a dramatic development. We are watching history happen.”

The biological mother’s partner was present at the birth and was the first to hold the baby. The two women legally wed in 2008 in California, a union not currently recognized under Louisiana law. The judgment awards the non-biological mother the same rights of any other parent, including the right to decide which school her son will attend and fully participating in making medical decisions for him.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has a right to appeal the judgment, and according to the couple’s attorney, it is certain to appeal their marriage petition, which was denied in the 15th Judicial District in Lafayette. The appeal will be heard Feb. 26 in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. If denied, the litigants plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Legal challenges to gay marriage bans are popping up all over the country. This Louisiana case is likely going to be a closely watched case by both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.

If you are faced with a similar situation where a step-parent seeks to legally adopt a child, a consultation with an experienced family law attorney can help you get more information on the subject and decide how to move forward.

Source: The Advertiser, “Same-sex couple clear adoption hurdle” Jessica Goff, Feb. 13, 2014

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