Saturday, January 15, 2011

Louisiana registrar refuses to recognize NY same-sex adoption, case en bancc in Fifth Circuit; UCMJ 125 needs repeal

A registrar in Louisiana refused to issue a birth certificate to a boy showing two men as adoptive parents, in a case where the boy had been adopted by a male couple in New York.  The men are Oren Adar and Mickey Smith.

The case will be heard in the Fifth Circuit Jan. 19.  In 2009, Judge Jay Zainey had ruled against the Louisiana registrar, and a three judge panel in the Fifth Circuit had agreed. Now a full en banc hearing will take place.

Lambda Legal’s writeup of Adar v. Smith is here

The adoption cases are interesting in a moral sense.  The media has been pressuring the public to be much more interested in adopting disadvantaged children, as in NBC-Washington’s “Wednesday’s Child” series.  
Back in the 1990s, Jonathan Rauch used to write, if gays win marriage (and adoption and parenting rights), they need to “use” them and take more responsibility. 

Back in 1985, the Fifth Circuit had upheld Texas statute 21.06 on the grounds of "promoting morality", in a reversal of Dallas judge Buchmeyer's 1982 decision in Baker v. Wade.  Of course, Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 overturned all that. 

Along the lines of the discussion of defunct sodomy laws, it's important to remember that the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) Article 125 is still on the books, and it may be a difficult repeal in this Congress, although there seem to be new constitutional grounds for striking it down (an earlier attempt in US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces had failed, United States v. Marcum). Lou Chibbaro has a detailed story in the Jan. 13, 2011 Washington Blade here.

Picture: unrelated, this time, an Orioles baseball game in 2010. 

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