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Louisiana Federal Appeal Argues State Should Recognize Same Sex Adoption from Other State

The Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals this week heard arguments in a case about out of state recognition of gay adoptions.

The federal district court ruled in favor of the gay couple [PDF] late last year.

Two men jointly adopted in New York a baby born in Louisiana. But when they tried to get a new birth certificate in Louisiana, the state refused. Instead, the state said that it doesn't have to recognize adoptions from other states that it wouldn't allow itself. Because Louisiana doesn't allow joint gay adoptions, the state said the two men were out of luck.

In the meantime, some Louisiana lawmakers are trying to preempt a ruling that would make the state recognize gay adoptions from other states. Rep. Jonathan Perry introduced a bill that would make couples who adopt a Louisiana born child follow Louisiana law when it comes to birth certificates. The law hasn't yet passed.

Even if it does, it may not matter. Ken Upton of Lambda Legal, who is representing the two men, argued before the court that Louisiana must recognize the New York adoption because the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution should make the state respect judicial adoption decree from other states, including New York.

If the appeals court rules in favor of the two men based on this argument, then it won't matter if a Louisiana state law says otherwise. The federal law will trump.

[Cross-posted at the Gay Couples Law Blog, which discusses same sex family law, estate planning, and taxes.

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Gideon Alper

Gideon Alper

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