The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in 2015 went a long ways toward settling the matter of marriage equality. However, there are issues that remain. In spite of the fact that same-sex couples are entitled to the same marriage rights, some family law concerns can still cause heartache and confusion for many of these couples. Like other states, New York has its own laws regarding the adoption of children.
When a same-sex couple marries, their union is now legally recognized in all 50 states. However, if that same couple decides to bring a child into the marriage -- even if the couple is married and both are listed as parents on a birth certificate -- not every state will give legal protections to the parents. Moreover, not every state allows for the same consideration to be given to a same-sex couple when they seek to adopt a child.
The states that allow for religious exemptions for adoption agencies are seen as discriminatory by those who work for the rights of LGBTQ families. Due to the fact that not all states or countries protect the rights of same-sex parents, many professionals strongly suggest that the non-biological parent formally adopt the child. If the home state does not permit second-parent adoption, a stepparent adoption may be a viable option.
Couples residing in New York may face a lengthy process when taking this step. One couple who is going through the process are doing so to provide protection for both themselves and their daughter, though they expressed frustration with the need to take this proactive step. There are many facets of family life that may require the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in these and related family law matters.
Source: The New York Times, "Same-Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications", Elizabeth A. Harris, June 20, 2017