A twenty-eight year old man has been adopted by a woman who was legally married to his mother in Massachusetts. This is the first step-parent adoption by a member of a same-sex couple in the state of Kentucky.
The circuit court judge finalized the adoption last Tuesday. The biological mother and her wife, were married twenty five years ago when the man being adopted was three years old.
The State court of Appeals in Kentucky restricted step-parent adoptions to heterosexual marriages, but a February 12 decision was issued that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. A U.S. District Court Judge, John Heyburn II, issued a stay in the case delaying its effectiveness until March 20, 2014.
If the decision is not appealed on March 20, other same-sex couples that were married in other states in the U.S. will be moving forward to with step-parent adoptions in a quick manner. The attorney for this most recent couple expects the “adoption business” will pick up quickly.
The step-parent who adopted her 25 year old step son is a professor emeritus of Department of Philosophy and Department of Women and Gender Studies. She and her step-son say the adoption is more than symbolic. Both she and her son say it means a lot to both of them. It legally recognizes that she has been his parent for a quarter century. They both feel that that if the ruling is overturned, it doesn’t change the way they feel about each other. They are still a family.
Until the March 20th deadline, the Fayette Circuit Court in Kentucky will not issue any name changes or other services that same-sex couples married in another state may seek. Kentucky along with other states will look to their attorney general’s office for guidance on how to implement the decision if it stands.
As same-sex marriage becomes legal in many states, the question of step-parent adoptions will become a hot topic. This will also have state leaders looking at laws allowing same-sex couples who are married to adopt children of which neither one are the biological parent. There may be a lot of changes upcoming when it comes to same-sex marriage and adoption.