Lambda Legal Urges Puerto Rico Supreme Court to Overturn Second-Parent Adoption Ban

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March 8, 2013

Lambda Legal is urging Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court to grant second-parent adoption to lesbian and gay parents.

In a brief filed today, Lambda Legal and Fundación Artículo II ask the Court to reconsider and reverse an erroneous Feb. 20 ruling. We are requesting that the Court either grant a second-parent adoption to a lesbian couple or hold their case until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on DOMA may provide a clearer road map for lower courts on how to review laws that single out and target LGBT people for discrimination.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Iván Espinoza-Madrigal says:

Children have a right to a legal relationship with both their parents. Banning same-sex couples from adoption harms children and families by denying them access to legal protections. Excluding same-sex couples from adoption also suggests that lesbians and gay men are unworthy of parenting, and their children are unworthy of legal recognition. Puerto Rico's adoption law condemns same-sex couples—and their children—to an inferior and stigmatized second-class status. It is also out of step with an increasing number of jurisdictions that actively seek to protect children and families—regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents.

Last month Puerto Rico's Supreme Court upheld a ban on second-parent adoption after a lesbian couple petitioned the court to allow the non-biological mother to adopt the child she and her partner of 20 years are raising together. The Court also said that it was a matter for the legislature to decide. After waiting eight years for the ruling, the mothers filed a motion asking the Court to reconsider.

In today’s brief, Lambda Legal argues that constitutional protections should never be contingent on legislative action, because it is the duty of the judiciary to protect an individual's right to equal protection.

Read the brief (in Spanish) here.