En Banc Argument in Louisiana Birth Certificate Case Tomorrow

For quite some time I’ve been following a case called Adar v. Smith.   You can read back through the posts to get the facts, but here it is in a nutshell. 

Oren Adar and Mickey Smith are a gay male couple who have jointly adopted a child.  The child was born in Louisiana.  

Louisiana routinely issues new birth certificates listing the adoptive parents when an adoption is completed.   (All states do this–a whole other topic that intersects with this one.  You can read up on in a different thread on the blog.)   However, and this is a major however, Louisiana does not allow unmarried adults to jointly adopt.   either will Louisiana recognize two men as being married.  Thus, Adar and Smith could not have completed the joint adoption in Louisiana.   (I think they completed the joint adoption in New York.)   

Once they completed the adoption, Adar and Smith sought a new birth certificate.   Remember that Louisiana routinely issues new birth certificates naming adoptive parents?  If they do that for LA adoptions (and they do) then they must do the same for adoptions from the sister states.  They cannot pick and choose among them.   (This is what the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution does.) 

But LA wants to do just that.  The state declined to issue a new birth certificate.   Adar and Smith sued.   (Unhappily, the defendant, who is probably a state official is also named “Smith” and so the case is called Adar v. Smith, but the “Smith” in the case name isn’t the co-parent.)  They won in district court.  The won 3-0 before a panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit.   You’ll find links to all the opinions in earlier entries.  

Tomorrow the case will be heard by all 16 judges from the Fifth Circuit.   This is an en banc hearing.    I’ll watch for coverage–it will be interesting to see how it goes.


3 responses to “En Banc Argument in Louisiana Birth Certificate Case Tomorrow

  1. This case concerns me. If the Court allows the State to differentiate (in the area of birth certificate issuance) between adoptees with straight parents versus those with gay parents, can the State also make that distinction in the event a child is hospitalized in LA? Could they bar one parent from access to the child? How about child custody? Could one-half of a gay couple sneak off to LA & then claim the other parent has no legal rights since LA doesn’t allow two gay people to adopt? Perhaps, my fears are unfounded but it seems that the Full Faith & Credit Clause was written to avoid these situations. I’m not a lawyer so the entire thing is confusing & alarming.

  2. I should have added – how about registering the child for school? Can the school ignore one of the parents if the parents are a gay couple? Again, the possible outcomes – if the Court sides with the State – seem alarming.

  3. The men have a legitimate beef from a gay rights standpoint. If birth certificates are modified to name adopters that are straight, then likewise should they be modified to name adopters that are not straight. Its not like either couple is related to the child. The straight couple is not more deserving of having their names on the document its just, I think they just don’t know how to fill out the form when there is no female party to the adoption.
    Every is born as the result of human reproduction between a maternally related female (mother) and paternally related male (father). People are the parents of their own offspring, there is just no getting around that. Parents are legally obligated to raise their own children to adulthood unless the parents responsibilities are assumed by an adoptive couple. Adopters do not need to assume the title of mother and father to perform responsibilities on behalf of the Mother and Father. Really what needs to happen is when a child is adopted the state should issue an adoption certificate with their names on it which of course will give them the same level of authority over the child as the parents previously had. And the federal government should require the acceptance of an adoption certificate as being the same as any OBC. The state could still seal the OBC forever or until the child is an adult (which I disagree with), but at least as an adult the child would not be given a birth certificate naming the people that adopted him as his parents rather than as his adoptive parents. One emulates the other, you can’t adopt without the permission or at least the knowledge of the child’s parents. That consent to the adoption, is the parent’s last act of authority over their child.
    Really this highlights the fact that the left-over male is no more a mother than an unrelated female assuming responsibility on behalf of the mother, once the child is born her duties are largely unrelated to her gender now that we have baby formula. And in terms of human reproduction there can only be one male parent, so why are we stuffing adoptions onto a document that is intended to record the identity of the people who reproduced to create the child, why not create a second document that records the identity of the people that adopted to raise the child. It can say parents on it too, only there would be no chance the child would ever be misled to believe the people raising him were genetically related.

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