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Idaho High Court Affirms Second-Parent Adoptions by Same-Sex Partners

Idaho High Court Affirms Second-Parent Adoptions by Same-Sex Partners


The state's Supreme Court finds that a county magistrate misinterpreted state law by claiming a woman could not adopt her partner's children because the couple are not married.

Nothing in Idaho law prohibits one unmarried partner from adopting the other partner's child, the state's Supreme Court has ruled in a case involving a lesbian couple from Boise.

The ruling, issued Monday, sets a precedent for adoption by same-sex and other unmarried couples, grandparents, and many other types of prospective parents, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Darcy Drake Simpson had sought to adopt the two children of her partner, Rene Simpson, but Ada County magistrate Cathleen MacGregor Irby rejected the request last summer, saying the state adoption law's intent is that "the petitioner must be in a lawfully recognized union, i.e. married to the prospective adoptee's parent, to have legal standing to file a petition to adopt that person's biological or adopted child."

The Supreme Court differed, pointing out that the law allows "any adult person residing in and having residence in Idaho" to adopt "any minor child," in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Jim Jones. Since the law "contains no provisions that limit adoption to those who are married, Idaho's adoption statutes plainly allow Jane Doe to adopt John Doe and John Doe I," he wrote.

Parties in adoption cases usually are not identified, but the Simpsons came forward as the couple in this case "hoping to raise awareness about the problems faced by families headed by same-sex couples," the Statesman reports.

The Supreme Court returned the case to the magistrate so she can determine if Darcy Drake Simpson satisfies other legal requirements for becoming an adoptive parent, but emphasized that her sexual orientation and marital status are irrelevant to the question.

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