The NY Times’ Motherlode blog ran an article today about 2nd parent adoptions, and Judge Lopez Torres’ recent decision to deny a petition for such when the adoptive parents were married. Here is my comment (which they also published):
I am an attorney who does second parent adoptions. I have completed and filed several such adoptions in New York State since Judge Lopez Torres’ decision was published – parallel courts recognize them as still being necessary.
While Judge Lopez Torres’ decision was idealistic and well intentioned, it failed to address the reality that people travel, that families move, that married couples sometimes break apart. What happens to a family that moves to a state where same sex marriage is not recognized?
In addition, it did not adequately address a family like yours, with a known donor. While she is right that there is a presumption of parentage when parents are married to each other, we all know that it is still impossible for both mothers to be the biological parent. What will happen when a known donor claims parentage several years from now and asks for a DNA test?
Marriage secures the rights between adult partners, not between non-biological parents and children. Step-parents also have to adopt their spouse’s children. Second parent adoptions remain a vital part of securing the rights in many families.