Justice LGBT

Supreme Court Strikes Down Alabama Court’s Ruling Against Gay Adoption Rights

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The United States Supreme Court has overruled the Alabama state Supreme Court which refused to recognize a lesbian couple's legal adoption rights.

The couple in question secured their right to adopt in the state of Georgia but the Alabama state Supreme Court refused to recognize that adoption because it was established in 2007 and, at the time, Alabama would not have recognized it.

The U.S. Supreme Court voided the Alabama court's ruling today by reminding them that they don't have jurisdiction over legal matters in other states.

Not so, the Supreme Court ruled. "A state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits," its reversal said. Rather, Alabama must give "full faith and credit" to the Georgia court's decision.

As Zack Ford at ThinkProgress points out, today's was ruling was remarkable in that it wasn't remarkable. No one on the Supreme Court issued a dissent.

What is perhaps most remarkable about Monday’s decision is how unremarkable it is. It was a per curiam decision, which means it was unsigned, and no justice noted a dissent. Furthermore, it did not actually rely on Obergefell at all and did not address the merits of same-sex adoption. It closed the case by treating E.L. and V.L. like any other couple, regardless of their sexual orientation.

I have to wonder if Justice Scalia's absence is already having a major impact. Today's positive ruling follows another ruling last week which allowed the EPA's mercury pollution rules to take effect.

People who are far more knowledgeable about the court than I am have opined that his presence and his habit of asking absurd questions during oral arguments effectively strengthened the conservative side of the court's positions. He's not there to talk about broccoli or applesauce anymore.

  • muselet

    I’m sure the Alabama Supreme Court—led by Chief Justice Roy Moore, never forget—will respond to this ruling with the same grace and dignity with which it has greeted other US Supreme Court decisions with which it disagreed.

    Moore will issue a public statement as soon as he’s through screaming and pounding his fists on the floor of his office.


    • Roy Moore is no spring chicken. The bell will toll for him sooner rather than later and then maybe AL can join us in this Century. Conservatism, to a certain degree, is aging out of this Country, thank goodness.

      • muselet

        It’s nice to think so, but all the other justices on the Alabama Supreme Court are as reactionary as Roy Moore. When Moore shuffles off this mortal coil, that might—might—bring the state into the post-Articles of Confederation era.


        • Hope springs eternal and all that. 🙂

      • In addition to what muselet said, you’ve also got to remember that the people of AL gleefully voted Moore back into office the first chance they got. And there will be no dearth of equally bad replacement choices for those same voters to drool over.

        • I should have known it was too much to hope for.

  • Aynwrong

    Just got into an argument with a No Bernie No Vote voter. It amazes me that even the possibility of a Republican replacing Antonin Scalia is not enough to make them consider voting for Hillary Clinton. It’s that insistence on purity that I just can’t get my head around.

    • Georgie

      Just terrible for anyone to talk that way, sounds like a spoiled brat.

    • ninjaf

      There are people for both Bernie and Hillary who have said that. I don’t understand it, either.