The US Supreme Court has smacked down a decision in Alabama to block legal recognition of a same-sex adoption, which had prevented a mother from seeing her own kids.
The mother, known as V.L. in court documents, had adopted the three children that her partner E.L. conceived through IVF.
The pair recently split after a breakdown of their relationship, and V.L pushed for visitation rights.
However, an Alabama court ruled that it could not recognise V.L as the children’s mother – because it doesn’t recognise their same-sex adoption from the state of Georgia.
The decision blocked V.L.’s visitation rights – cutting her off from her children, aged 13, 11 and 11.
However, the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court today, in a short six-page ruling.
The Supreme Court ruling states: “A state law 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.”
It adds: “It follows that the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit.
“The petition for writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment of the Alabama Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”
The mother said: “I’m overjoyed that my children and I will be able to be together again.
“It’s been so long— more time that I ever thought I could bear —since we have been able to be together and just do the everyday things that parents do with their children, like having dinner together and helping them with their homework.
“I adopted my children more than eight years ago to be sure that I could always be there to protect them.
“This terrible Alabama decision has hurt my family and [would have] hurt so many other families.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights represented V.L. in the case.
NCLR Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura: “I am relieved for V.L. and her children that they can be reunited.
“For any adoptive parent, it would be unthinkable that their adoption could be invalidated years later and that they could be separated from their children for months while they fought to be recognized.
“V.L. and her children have already endured what no parent or child should ever have to experience.”
The group added: “Before this ruling, no state supreme court has refused to recognize a same-sex parent’s adoption from another state—or any out-of-state adoption—based on a disagreement with how the court issuing the adoption interpreted its own adoption laws.”