Posts

Federal Government to Recognize Same Sex Marriages Performed in Utah

For 17 days, same sex marriages were legally performed in Utah.  On December 20, 2013, a federal district court struck down Utah’s Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) which, similarly to Florida’s DOMA, recognizes marriage as only between one man and one woman.  Over 1300 Utah gay and lesbian couples took advantage of their newly recognized right to marry when, on January 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to pause marriage equality in Utah pending appeal.

Related:  Five Legal Steps Florida LGBT Parents Should Take

Despite the legal seesaw regarding the status of same sex marriage in Utah, the Washington Post cites U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as stating that those couples who were married during that 17 day period would be recognized by the federal government and receive federal marriage benefits.

Read more

Baby Veronica Adoption Case Decided By U.S. Supreme Court

I have previously written about the adoption case of Baby Veronica.  In this case, a South Carolina court ordered a child to be taken from her prospective adoptive parents’ home and to be placed in her biological father’s home even though the father had abandoned the child and consented to the adoption.  The court’s logic was that, because the child’s father was a member of the Cherokee tribe – and so Baby Veronica was a member of the Cherokee tribe – the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) applied.  Accordingly, the South Carolina trial court concluded, the prospective adoptive parents failed to prove that the adoption (i) was both in the child’s best interests and (ii) did not infringe on the rights of the Indian tribe.  The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision.

I wrote in July 2012 that the South Carolina Supreme Court should not have applied the ICWA because the father had abandoned the child, voluntarily waived his parental rights, and consented to the adoption.  I also wrote that the case likely would have been decided differently by Florida courts.

Well, the prospective adoptive parents appealed this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, and, as it turns out, the majority opinion agrees with me.

Read more

Baby Veronica Adoption Case Goes To U.S. Supreme Court

In July 2012, I wrote an article on Florida Adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act which discussed the case of Baby Veronica.  This is a case in which a biological father who belonged to the Cherokee Indian tribe objected to the adoption of his daughter after he had already signed a consent to the adoption.

In his objection, the biological father cited the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in the 1970’s which states that, when determining whether and adoption for a child who is a member of an Indian tribe should be granted, the Court must take into consideration not only the best interests of the child, but also the best interests of the Native American tribe.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the biological father, but the prospective adoptive parents have appealed the ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case.  Below is a report from CNN:

Read more