Adoption Advice after Windsor and Perry

Analysis of the two US Supreme Court LGBT rights decision (Windsor and Perry).  In short, I think their positive effect on adoption is in states where marriages are legal, including in the future after California marriages begin again this summer, largely because all federal rights will be equally available to same gender married couples.

As currently believed, that protection does NOT extend to state registered domestic partners, civil unions etc.  So we would be safe advising any same gender prospective adoptive couple who is registered as domestic partners etc. but not married– to get married (after appropriate legal consideration–I’m doing a seminar on premarital planning on July 25 at the LGBT center in SF details below).

This advice is NOT because it will affect their adoption, but that it will affect the financial health of their family long term.The Bad News:  The other adoption related implication of these cases is that DOMA was NOT entirely struck down as unconstitutional.  Only section 3 was found unconstitutional.  Section 3 of DOMA said the federal government would not respect legal marriages between same gender couples.  No longer the law.  Analyzed above.

However Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow STATES not to respect legal marriages (i.e. from another state) if it is between same gender couples.  So all the INTERSTATE issues for same gender couples that existed before these two decisions, will exist for at least another year and almost certainly longer until a challenge to Section 2 succeeds.  The challenges are in process– it is unconstitutional under the Full Faith & Credit Clause of the US Constitution.  But that is for another YEAR, so INTERSTATE concerns still need to be addressed by same gender adopting couples.