The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals [official website] ruled Friday that an Alabama law [Alabama Const. Amdt. 774] defining marriage as between one man and one woman bars a woman from adopting her female partner's child. The case concerned a woman, Cari Searcy, who married her partner, Kimberly McKeand in California in 2008. The appeals court held [AP report] unanimously that even though the couple was legally married in California, Alabama's marriage law prohibits Searcy from adopting McKeand's child. Searcy and McKeand, who have been together for 14 years, both consider themselves the parents of McKeand's six-year-old biological son Khaya. It is unclear if the couple plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Alabama [official website].
This is the latest development in the ongoing same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] debate. Two weeks ago the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] heard arguments [JURIST report] on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text]. Earlier in September the US Department of Justice filed petitions in the US Supreme Court asking it to consider two additional challenges to DOMA [JURIST report]. In July a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Central District of California in a DOMA challenge that seeks to achieve for gay and lesbian couples the same federal immigration rights afforded to heterosexual couples [JURIST report] under the Immigration and Nationality Act [materials].