No Gay Marriage = No Gay Adoption?

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Today’s AP carries a story under the headline “Lesbian Argues Ga. Gays Can’t Adopt Kids.”    A Georgia woman, now split from her female partner, seeks to void the partner’s adoption of  her minor child.   Reporter Greg Bluestein details:

[Sara] Wheeler, 36, and her partner, Missy, decided to start a family together and share the Wheeler last name. In 2000, Sara Wheeler gave birth to a son, Gavin, through artificial insemination. Two years later, they decided Missy Wheeler should adopt the child and legally become his second parent.

Georgia law doesn’t specifically say whether gay parents can adopt a child, so the decision was up to a judge in the Atlanta area’s DeKalb County. After an adoption investigator determined that both partners wanted it, the judge cleared the request.

The couple’s relationship later soured….Sara and Missy Wheeler had split by July 2004, and Missy was fighting for joint custody of the boy….Sara Wheeler made the legal argument that, since nothing in Georgia law specifically allowed gay adoption, the adoption should be tossed out.

Her first lawyers warned her the case could set gay rights back a century.

She hired a new attorney and asked the DeKalb County court to toss the adoption that she had previously pushed for, claiming it should never have been approved because it runs afoul of state law….[T]he Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 vote in February, declined to hear the case. Only months earlier the court had upheld the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, which Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004.

The full article is available here.   Lambda’s assessment of the legal climate in Georgia is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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