The Supreme Court granted permission to a woman to visit the three children she had raised although she was not the biological mother. She had been denied access by the Alabama court earlier.
The two unmarried women who were raising the three children together were identified by their initials as EL and VL.
EL conceived through artificial insemination and both EL and VL were raising the children together until they separated in 2011. EL and VL dated and had been together since1995. They lived in Alabama though the adoption happened in Georgia. Their relationship ended and their complicated situation led to custodial dispute over the children in the court of Alabama.
Alabama State court had stated previously that the State’s law does not allow unmarried partners or parents of the same sex to adopt, if he or she does not have biological relationship to the child.
This case has been keenly watched by the LGBT advocates and lawyers as it is a key case for the rights of same sex adoption. More than half of the States allow same sex partners parental rights.
The couple were together for more than 16 years. The lower courts and the trial approved joint custody but the Alabama Supreme Court invalidated those orders and concluded that the Georgia court had misinterpreted its own State law.
The Plaintiff or VL, was represented by lawyers from the National Centre for Lesbian Rights. In January 2015, the State Supreme Court Chief Judge wrote a letter to the Governor promising to continue the ban on same sex marriage.
Throughout the nation, there are more than 16,000 same sex couples raising more than 22,000 adopted children.