Utah Same-Sex Couples Claim State is Interfering in Adoptions

by Norris Law Group on April 1, 2014

learysAn article in the March 1 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune tells the story of Amber and Kimberly Leary, a lesbian couple who married in Utah in the time period between a federal court ruling that overturned a voter-supported ban on same-sex marriage in Utah on December 20, 2013 and a temporary stay on Utah same-sex marriages in January 2014. Because of the stay, which is still in place as of this writing, the Learys’ marriage is not currently recognized by the state of Utah.

The Learys have been together for six years, and always intended to have children together. Amber Leary is now the biological mother of a 15-month-old girl, and is the girl’s only legal parent. The Learys planned that Kimberly would adopt the girl and they would parent the child together as a married couple. To that end, they married within hours of the ban on same-sex marriage being lifted on December 20, and filed adoption papers just a few days after.

On January 10, 2014, however, a 3rd District Court judge handling the Leary’s adoption petition added a requirement that the Utah attorney general’s office be notified of the case and be given 45 days to respond. On Monday, February 24, the Utah attorney general’s office filed an opinion that the Learys’ adoption petition may not proceed until the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban is resolved.

On Friday, February 28, several same-sex couples and their attorneys voiced their objection to the adoption delays at the Utah State Capitol. Laura Milliken Gray, an attorney for the couples, said, “Our clients are dismayed and hurt by the state’s position…These children deserve justice and protections now.” Gray went on to urge the state to “allow these kids to have the rights and protections that come only when their parents can both adopt them.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.


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