NY Same-Sex Second Parent Adoption Ruling

On October 12, 2016, a New York family court issued a ruling which affirmed the adoption rights of same-sex couples. Many married couples, especially same-sex couples, build their families through processes such as adoption and assisted reproductive technology. In cases where one or both parents are not the biological parents of the children, additional steps are taken to preserve their parental rights under the law. In these instances, a second-parent adoption provides the parent with protection as parents under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution legal security to be provided to the children, “who already are entitled to have both spouses recognized as their parents.”


Lambda Legal filed a memo on behalf of four married lesbian couples who sought parentage orders from their respective courts. Due to discrepancies in laws that define parenthood between states, this case was brought to the New York Court of Appeals. The decision to affirm these adoption rights is based on the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision providing that “same sex couples and their children” are entitled to all the protections that come through marriage. Although in some more conservative states, courts have resisted the process of same-sex couples attempting to secure both parents’ rights through adoption, this decision affirms that the court has the authority to grant second-parent adoptions to same-sex parents.