Utah Lifts Ban On Same-Sex Adoptions


Utah’s Supreme Court lifted its ban on same-sex adoptions last Thursday, nearly two weeks after the state dropped its legal battle over the hot topic.

In May, the state’s high court prohibited same-sex couples from being issued birth certificates for their adopted children by the Utah Department of Health, despite several district judges’ rulings in the contrary.

The action on Thursday has now cleared the way for the state department of health to issue birth certificates to children of same-sex parents. It has also allowed other adoptions left in limbo to continue where they left off.

“The families involved are obviously relieved and thrilled,” Laura Milliken Gray, an attorney who represented one of four families in the case.

Gray added that the state’s high court ruling was not unexpected.

About 26 percent of Utah’s same-sex couples are raising children, according to the University of California’s Williams Institute.

According to Gray, many same-sex couples are rushing to finish their adoptions because they fear that the Legislature will remove their parenting rights again. In fact, some conservative lawmakers have noted that they will examine the aspects of Utah law regarding marriage, including parental rights, to see if they should be redrafted. Other aspects of marriage will likely be examined, like tax benefits, health care insurance and inheritance laws.

Though Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said that such efforts will probably occur, he has high hopes for the future of marriage equality and parental rights.

“The simple truth is that now, all Utah families are equal under the law,” Williams said. “We will never roll the clock back on that.”

Utah’s reversal on the issue followed news two weeks ago of the end of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver’s legal battle over the recognition of same-sex marriage. Previously, same-sex parents had no legal rights over their children.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


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