The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, Aug. 18, to preserve an adoption by the state’s only openly gay legislator. Sen. Julia Boseman’s (D-New Hanover) former partner, Melissa Jarrell, had sought to void Boseman’s parental rights. Jarrell gave birth to the couple’s six-year-old son, whom Boseman later adopted.
The three judge panel said Jarrell’s and Boseman’s status as a former same-sex couple had no bearing on the case and that the result would have been the same in a case involving a former heterosexual couple.
Boseman’s tumultuous personal life has become public in recent years. The custody battle over the former couple’s son led to revelations that Boseman had smoked marijuana in 2003, a year before election to her Senate seat.
Despite her personal setbacks, Boseman has had a successful legislative career and was re-elected to a third term last November. Boseman was the primary sponsor of the LGBT-inclusive School Violence Prevention Act, which passed the General Assembly this session.
North Carolina law allows single LGBT people to adopt, and has been unclear on the issue of joint adoption and second-parent adoption by same-sex couples. Although North Carolina has no state constitutional amendment addressing the issue of marriage, lawmakers approved in 1996 a statutory Defense of Marriage Act denying same-sex couples any of the rights or privileges of marriage.