The following is reprinted from Equality North Carolina, in response to Monday’s North Carolina Supreme Court decision in Bosman v. Jarrell:
On Monday, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision in Boseman v. Jarrell, a case challenging the validity of second parent adoption in our state. Unfortunately, the Court voted 5-2 to invalidate the adoption, claiming such adoptions are not allowed under state law.
Equality NC Foundation partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal to file an amicus brief in this case in support of second parent adoption. We are deeply saddened by this decision and will continue to work to secure basic protections for childern of same-gender parents
Many LGBT family law experts are analyzing through the decision to understand its full effect. However, we can share this basic information with you now:
New Second Parent Adoptions
The NC Supreme Court has ruled that judges do not have the authority to grant such adoptions. This means that same-sex parents can no longer obtain second parent adoptions in North Carolina.
Existing Second Parent Adoptions
The Court only ruled on one case. If other second parent adoptions were challenged, a court would have to find the adoption was invalid. However, the impact, if any, on existing adoptions that are not challenged is not yet clear. If you have an existing second parent adoption, we encourage you to contact the attorney you worked with for further advice.
This portion of the decision was actually very positive. For the first time the NC Supreme Court has affirmed the same-sex parent cases that were decided by the Court of Appeals two years ago. Family law attorneys Sharon Thompson and Corye Dunn explain: “There will now no longer be any legal question in North Carolina that if you were jointly raising a child with your partner who is the legal parent, then you will be entitled to pursue a claim for custody if you were to unfortunately break up.”
As we learn more, we will share that information with you. Regarless of this discriminatory decision, our families will continue to love and support each other and Equality NC will continue fighting until the day that all LGBT North Carolinians and their families are treated fairly. Click here to make a contribution to support our work.
— Ian Palmquist, Executive Director, Equality North Carolina