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Making The Complex Understandable

What does the Supreme Court ruling means for gay parents?

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling we discussed recently that made marriage between same-sex couples legal throughout the country is having numerous reverberations throughout Louisiana. Among those impacted are same-sex couples who were legally married in another state, but are now living in Louisiana where their marriages weren't previously recognized.

For same-sex married couples seeking to adopt a child together as well as those who already have children, the opportunity for both of them to finally be legally considered their child's parent is huge.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says that it will allow same-sex couples who are legally married to adopt children. Whether private adoption agencies, particularly those affiliated with churches, will permit these adoptions is still a matter of emotional debate.

For same-sex Louisiana couples who already have children, the change in the law means that both parents can have all the rights and privileges of a legal parent. Louisiana parents are already working to have their adoption agreements or their children's birth certificates amended so that both spouses are listed as legal parents via intrafamily adoptions.

The Forum for Equality Louisiana's executive director acknowledges that there will still be "some legal hurdles" for these couples ahead. However, she is optimistic for "families that have been denied recognition by the state and federal government for far too long."

The new laws surrounding the legalization of same-sex marriage are not without their vocal opponents here in Louisiana. Even those who aren't seeking to prevent same-sex couples from marrying and having a family may need some time to make the necessary changes and figure out how to amend their policies and practices. Experienced, supportive legal guidance will be essential to help parents in the months ahead as they seek to strengthen the legal bonds of their families.

Source: KPLC 7, "State agency has system in place for adoptions by same-sex couples," Sabrina Wilson, July 09, 2015

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