Yesterday, a civil liberties group filed suit in federal court arguing that laws regarding adoption in North Carolina are unconstitutional. These laws prevent unmarried couples from adopting one another's children.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of several same-sex couples in North Carolina. These couples are in favor of "second parent adoptions," when one partner adopts the biological or adoptive child of the other partner.
In the lawsuit, the couples argue that second parent adoptions are the only way unmarried couples can ensure a legal relationship is established between the child and both parents.
According to the legal director of the ACLU, North Carolina's highest court upheld adoption laws which exclude unmarried couples in 2010. The laws apply to both straight and gay unmarried couples.
"This is fundamentally wrong. No parent should have to worry about what will happen to their children if something happens to their partner," explained the Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. Without a legal parent-child relationship, supporters argue children may be excluded from health insurance and other benefits.
In addition to health care benefits, the ACLU claims second parent adoptions facilitate keeping families in tact if something happens to the biological or adoptive parent, and allow both parents to make medical decisions and visit their child in the hospital.
One of the couples involved in the case had been together for 15 years when one partner was stopped by hospital staff asking for paperwork as she attempted to attend the birth of one of their children.
Source: WBTV, "ACLU: NC adoptions law is unconstitutional," June 13, 2012.