Is Marriage Enough To Protect Same-Sex Parents?

No, many fear:

A Brooklyn judge, citing some complications that have arisen from the legalization of gay marriage in New York State, halted the adoption of a child by the wife of the mother. Brooklyn Surrogate Judge Margarita Lopez Torres ruled that the adoption “is neither necessary nor available” because New York State marriage law already grants custody to both spouses.

Still, the anonymous couple wished to cement the adoption in case of a change in law, or if they separate, or if they have a medical emergency in another state. While the judge was sympathetic to their request, she ultimately ruled that “no such action is warranted or permitted by this court to affirm an existing, recognized and protected parent-child relationship.” Essentially, the judge ruled, you can’t offer guardianship to someone who already has it.

Diana Adams weighs in:

“States have the right to define their own family policy, in spite of Windsor,” Adams, an attorney specializing in non-traditional family law, explained. “Adoption however, is something that is a nationwide standardized system, and you do not need to get into the issue as to whether the marriage is valid” … If, for example, Adams explained, a married same-sex couple gets into a car accident in a state that does not recognize gay marriage, the non-biological parent may be denied the ability to assist in making medical decisions for her child or even be prevented from visiting the child in the hospital.  “There is a strong risk against the non-biological parent,” counseled Adams.

For more Adams, she recently appeared on the Savage Lovecast to discuss non-traditional family law with Dan.