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Oklahoma's antigay adoption law challenged

Oklahoma's antigay adoption law challenged

An antigay adoption law widely considered to be so extreme that it could leave children adopted by same-sex couples in other states orphans in the eyes of Oklahoma officials was challenged in federal court on Wednesday. The suit, filed by the gay rights group Lambda Legal, seeks to overturn the law, which was passed hastily at the end of the Oklahoma legislative session earlier this year. Lambda is representing same-sex couples who adopted children while living in other states and later moved to Oklahoma with their children or want to visit the state with their family. "This drastic law could be interpreted to nullify legal adoptions of children by same-sex couples in other states when they are in Oklahoma," said Brian Chase, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's South Central regional office in Dallas. "What we are talking about here are Oklahoma legislators who disapprove of gay people and lashed out by passing a law that punishes children for having gay or lesbian parents." Anne Magro and Heather Finstuen, together 13 years, are parents to 6-year-old twin girls born to Anne in New Jersey and adopted through a second-parent adoption by Heather while living in New Jersey. The family now lives in Norman, Okla., where Anne teaches accounting at the University of Oklahoma. The new law endangers the legal relationship established lawfully by a New Jersey court between Heather and her girls. "I worry about being allowed to parent my children, from doctor's visits to school field trips and everything in between," Finstuen said. "What would happen to the girls if Anne died tomorrow--would Oklahoma consider me their parent or would they come take the girls away from me? We are a family. Anne and I made the decision to raise children together, and with that decision came the responsibility to protect them as much as we can. Oklahoma should respect my adoption--instead they are putting my children at risk." The law says that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction." Lambda argues that the hastily passed law is unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection and full faith and credit.

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