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Court of appeals
to determine fate of antigay Oklahoma adoption law

Court of appeals
to determine fate of antigay Oklahoma adoption law

In papers filed in court on Tuesday, Lambda Legal urged the U.S. court of appeals to affirm a lower court ruling that Oklahoma's antigay Adoption Invalidation Law is unconstitutional. The law, passed quickly at the end of the 2004 legislative session in Oklahoma, states that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction."

"It's dangerous and appalling that state officials seek to jeopardize the safety and well-being of children in Oklahoma," Ken Upton, senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal's south central regional office and the lead attorney on the case, said in a press release. "The Adoption Invalidation Law threatens the welfare of children and their parents because it forbids agents of the state such as police, health officials, and child welfare officials from recognizing these families, and it doesn't even consider who would protect these children if the state severs the ties between parent and child."

U.S. district judge Robin Cauthron wrote in her decision, "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 children.... To now attempt to strip a child of one of his or her parents seems far removed from the statute's purpose and therefore from defendants' asserted important government objective."

The law was argued to be unconstitutional by Lambda Legal, based on the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection, right to travel, and due process as well as the mandates of the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The lower court ruled that the statute did violate the Constitution by singling out a specific group of people to discriminate against and upheld all of Lambda Legal's other claims except that involving the right to travel.

Oral arguments will be heard in the U.S. court of appeals for the 10th circuit in Denver on November 13. (The Advocate)

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