Posted by Brian at 5:44 PM
I don't know if it's a first
but it's a damn fine development all the same:
That wrongheaded statute declared that Oklahoma would refuse to recognize "an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction." In other words, if a gay couple and the child they adopted in, say, California or Maryland moved to Oklahoma or simply drove through Oklahoma on vacation, they would not be treated as a legally recognized family by any Oklahoma official -- whether a police officer, public school teacher or judge.
Sounds un-American, doesn't it? It's also unconstitutional. That's what a federal court of appeals told Oklahoma on Aug. 3 in striking down the law. A panel of three judges -- all of them Republican appointees -- of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling that Oklahoma's anti-family law violated the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, which requires states to honor one another's judicial judgments, including adoptions.
The appeals court also ordered Oklahoma to issue a revised birth certificate for an Oklahoma-born girl so that she is listed as the daughter of the women who legally adopted her in California.
Late last week, the Oklahoma Department of Health decided not to fight the ruling, so families headed by gay couples no longer need to fear traveling through or moving to Oklahoma with their adopted children.
The fact that Oklahoma isn't going to challenge the ruling makes this good law across the country, as I understand the process. SCOTUS can't overturn a case that doesn't get appealed to them, after all.
I'd like to think that this use of the Full Faith and Credit clause to protect the rights of same sex couples and their children will have positive effects on the push for national acceptance of same-sex marriage and the repeal of the horrendous Defense of Marriage Act, but I'm not getting my hopes up quite yet. Still, a victory is a victory, and we ought to celebrate what we can.
Labels: gay rights