Ky. Court Bars Lesbian Adoption As Stepparents

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Lesbians - and others barred from marrying in Kentucky - cannot legally adopt their partners' children as if they are step-parents, the state supreme court ruled.

A three-judge Kentucky Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday that stepparent adoptions are allowed only when the stepmother or stepfather is married to the biological parent. The ruling did not bar gay couples from adopting through traditional channels, but stepparents have special status that makes it less complicated for them to adopt their spouses' children.

The case involved a Jefferson County lesbian couple. One gave birth through artificial insemination and, after the couple split up, allowed the other woman to adopt the child. Louisville attorney Trisha Zeller claimed the child was the second woman's stepson and Family Court Judge Eleanore Garber approved the adoption.

Under Kentucky law, a stepparent does not need approval from the state Cabinet for Families and Children to adopt.

Later, after a dispute over visitation, the biological mother challenged the adoption. Garber agreed she had erred but said the mother waited too long to go to court.

The appeals court also allowed the adoption, agreeing that the mother waited more than a year to challenge it, but said other such adoptions will not be legal. In a similar future situation, the woman could not be considered a stepparent because lesbians cannot legally wed in Kentucky.

Zeller could not be reached for comment. The women and their son, now 8, are identified in the ruling only by their initials.

A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union said the ruling hurts children.

"It's basically denying a child the protection of having two legal parents, simply because the parents are gay," said Christine Sun, who works in the ACLU's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender rights division.

Sun said the ruling also affects gay men and heterosexuals in Kentucky who seek to adopt but are not married to the child's biological parent.

Sun said courts in other states have ruled that stepparent-like adoptions are in the best interests of children despite laws, like Kentucky's, that bar gay couples from marriage. She said those states include Indiana and Illinois.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Jeff & Todd Location: Louisville on Dec 6, 2008 at 02:40 AM
    Better get used to it. My husband and I are a couple legally married in another state, who have returned to my native state of Kentucky to live out the rest of our lives. We fully intend on raising children. Ever heard of the seperation between church and state? That means you keep your Christian paws off of our legal rights. Rest assured that Obama and the democrats will soon create federally sanctioned gay marriages or the equivalent, states like Kentucky who use religion as law to create unconstitutional bans on our civil rights will soon be put in their place. You only need to look at the rest of the world to see that America is in the dark ages when it comes to human rights for gays and lesbians. We are normal people who live normal lives just like the rest of you. You have no right to inject the bigotry and hatred of your religion upon us. The Constitution guarantees this, and soon in the upcoming administration, it will come to our rescue and allow us to live freely.
  • by Emma Location: Lexington on Sep 19, 2008 at 12:09 PM
    Rick.. if you'd research you'd find that "confusion later in life" occurs no more with children raise by "gays" than children raised by close-minded individuals.
  • by Rick Location: Pike on Sep 18, 2008 at 03:42 PM
    Children raised around gay's is wrong. I think they will have a lot of confusion later in life and bullied more at school and it is not part of gods plan. Do rabbits mate with turtles? Just is'nt normal dont you think?
  • by Anonymous on Sep 18, 2008 at 03:04 PM
    The Bible calls it unnatural affection.
  • by Kelly Location: Lexington on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:21 AM
    Wow.. who knew your sexual preference made you a good parent. What explains all the horrible parenting by STRAIGHT parents?
  • by Me Location: SC Ky on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:35 AM
    I'm straight and not an advocate for the gay lifestyle, but I AM AN ADVOCATE FOR ANYONE THAT DESIRES TO LOVE AND CLAIM A CHILD. There are too many messed up and love starved children in this world. So what if the law insists you be only a "guardian?" As long as the children know you as mommy or daddy you're doing the right thing!
  • by Gail Location: Lawrenceburg on Sep 18, 2008 at 09:40 AM
    This is very sad for Kentucky. The lesbians probably have more values than most of the Christian people I know.
  • by butch Location: hustlerhollywood on Sep 18, 2008 at 09:25 AM
    i say let them live as they want to afterall it is the best part of the movie when it is 2 women.
  • by Jodi Location: Lexington on Sep 18, 2008 at 08:56 AM
    I am a straight and Christian female, but last time I checked, I do not (nor do you) posess wings and halo. "Judge not, lest ye be judged" ring a bell? I support ANY PARENT who enriches a child's life and raises them in a loving home. So many children die at the hands of thier abusive straight parents every year, I would much rather spread love than ignorant hate
  • by Mom Location: KY on Sep 18, 2008 at 08:19 AM
    Anonymous, you say you believe in God, well, you need to read your Bible, that is, if you have one. The Holy Bible is the word of God, and He said homosexuality is sin. He still loves those people, but He clearly calls it sin. Why can't these perverted people figure it out, that if God intended for two people of the same sex to have a child, He would have made them physically able to do so. This is to "A"-the government is not invading people's houses, as you say. We need some kind of law and order, and there is nothing wrong with us having people with some morals trying to straighten out some of the mess this country is in. It is a shame that our government has to try to fix the mistakes in society, simply because people choose to live in sin. I am all for them doing absolutely whatever it take to protect the children. The ACLU needs to keep out of it.
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