An Alabama Supreme Court made a huge mistake. The court refused to recognize parental rights to a lesbian woman who had already adopted the children in a neighboring state.
In fact, the woman at the center of this case, V.L, adopted the children in 2007 during a 17-year relationship with her partner, E.L., and had even changed her last name to match her partner's surname.
Here's the full story. Now that gay marriage can take place in the United States, some of the remaining issues have yet to be ironed out, such as family law matters.
So far, more than 20 states have allowed gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. In the case of the Alabama woman, she had already adopted three children her former partner had given birth to. Those children are now 13 and 11-year-old twins.
After seventeen years together, the women separated. For some time, V.L. continued to visit the children until E.L. decided to prevent access to the kids. That's when V.L. asked the Alabama Court to honor the adoption judgment that V.L. had obtained in Georgia.
The Alabama court responded by asserting that Georgia had violated its state laws when it allowed V.L. to adopt the three children. The Alabama court also noted that to allow V.L. to adopt the children, George should have forced E.L., V.L.'s partner, to relinquish her parental rights.
The Alabama court even went further and asserted that V.L. didn't deserve visitation with the children she had already been raising.
V.L. appealed the Alabama Supreme Court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which blocked the Alabama court from denying parental rights to V.L.
U.S. Supreme Court Undecided Whether It Will Accept Gay Adoption Case
The U.S. Supreme Court is still trying to determine whether it will accept the case for full briefing and argument. If it accepts the case, a future decision could lead to greater leniency of gay adoptions throughout the U.S., including Alabama. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court could also come to a more conservative decision.
Meanwhile, the National Center for Lesbian Rights maintains that the case involving V.L. has much broader implications for gay and lesbian adoptive parents who decide to move to Alabama or even travel there. In court papers, the National Center noted that same-sex adoptions had been allowed in many states since the mid-1980s, even before same-sex couples had obtained the right to marry.
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, approximately 65,000 adopted children have a lesbian or gay parent.
Will SwanLuv Be Your Answer to an Affordable Wedding?
Crowd-funding platforms are cropping up everywhere. There's Kickstarter for musicians and other artists; IndieGogo for nonprofits, writers, and fundraisers; and GoGetFunding for engaged couples opting for money for their honeymoons rather than toasters or waffle irons.
Who hasn't received a request to donate money for a dream trip to Ireland inside a wedding invitation?
Well, now there's a crowd-funding application with a twist. It's called SwanLuv.
SwanLuv, which promises to launch soon, believes that "everlasting marriage deserves to be rewarded." How? This is where it gets interesting.
Applicants can receive up to $10,000 in rewards to pay for their wedding. Qualifying couples just need to apply online, sign an agreement, and receive the money for a dream wedding.
The hitch enters the picture when the couple divorces. That's right. If the marriage doesn't last, well, you have to pay for your divorce and, according to SwanLuv's terms, pay for another couple's dream wedding.
It's a double whammy.
If a couple needs marriage counseling, SwanLuv will provide it for free in hopes of keeping the couple together.
Do you think you would use SwanLuv or recommend it to another couple?
You can learn more about the new application here.