A federal court
on Friday struck down an Oklahoma law that would have had
the potential to make children adopted by same-sex couples
in other states legal orphans when the families are in
Oklahoma. The Adoption Invalidation Law, hastily
passed at the end of the 2004 Oklahoma legislative
session, had said that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an
adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from
any other state or foreign jurisdiction."
In a 31-page
decision, the court ruled that the statute violated the U.S.
Constitution by singling out a specific group for
discrimination. In the court opinion, U.S. district
judge Robin Cauthron wrote, "The very fact that the
adoptions have occurred is evidence that a court of law has
found the adoptions to be in the best interests of the
"Gay and lesbian
parents in Oklahoma can now breathe a collective sigh
of relief because their relationships with their children
are no longer threatened by the state of Oklahoma,"
said Ken Upton, senior staff attorney for the gay
group Lambda Legal, which brought the case against the
state. "We're gratified that justice has been handed
down in our case and that the court saw to it that Oklahoma
has to treat the children of gay and lesbian parents
the same as all other kids."
plaintiffs represented by Lambda in the case were Ed Swaya
and Greg Hampel, who live in Washington State and
adopted their 3-year-old daughter, Vivian, after she
was born in Oklahoma. The two men made news when the
state of Oklahoma initially refused to issue an amended
birth certificate that accurately reflected both men
as Vivian's parents after a court in Washington issued
an adoption decree. Before the Adoption Invalidation
Law was passed, the Oklahoma State Department of Health
issued Vivian's correct birth certificate, but before
Friday's ruling Swaya and Hampel still were fearful
about bringing Vivian to Oklahoma to visit her
birth mother and see the state where she was born.