Federal judge rules Oklahoma gay adoption ban unconstitutional

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Robin Cauthron Friday struck down [opinion, PDF] a two year-old amendment [text] to the Oklahoma Constitution [text] that prevented Oklahoma from recognizing adoptions by gay parents that were finalized in other US or foreign jurisdictions. Cauthron found that the amendment violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause [text] of the Fourth Amendment, and prohibits the state from considering the fitness of parents or the well-being of children when breaking up the relationship. Cauthron wrote, "The very fact that the adoptions have occurred is evidence that a court of law has found the adoptions to be in the best interests of the children... To now attempt to strip a child of one of his or her parents seems far removed from the statute’s purpose and therefore from Defendants’ asserted important government objective."

Lambda Legal [advocacy website], the gay rights group that successfully argued the case [Lamda press release] on behalf of three same-sex couples, called the ruling a victory for same-sex couples everywhere, while Rep. Thad Balkman (R-OK) said the ruling was another example of activist judges "legislating from the bench."

Read the 2004 official opinion [text, PDF] of the Attorney General of Oklahoma, finding that the amendment would violate the Ninth Amendment. AP has more.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.