In re Adoption of Luke
640 N.W.2d 374
Brief Filed: 9/01
Court: Nebraska Supreme Court
Year of Decision: 2002
Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 129K)
Whether second parent adoptions must be denied when the co-parents are gay or lesbian
Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Parenting; Sexual Orientation (custody)
The case is an adoption proceeding commenced by the lesbian partner of the child's natural mother. The child was conceived by artificial insemination from an anonymous donor. The biological father was unknown and not a party to the action. The partner sought to adopt the child ("Luke") so that both she and the natural mother could be his legal parents. The trial court denied the adoption because of its interpretation of Nebraska law. The court observed that "everyone with the potential to successfully parent a child in foster care or adoption should be entitled to a fair and equal consideration regardless of sexual orientation or differing lifestyles." However, the court ruled that the laws of Nebraska require otherwise. The court read the Nebraska statutes as not allowing a non-married partner to adopt the child of that person's partner, no matter how qualified they are to be an adoptive parent. The case was appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
APA's brief argued that research and clinical experience indicate that when children have been raised by lesbian couples, adoption by the second parent is generally beneficial for the child's social and psychological development and therefore consistent with the child's best interests. The brief also provided research to indicate that parents' sexual orientation does not adversely affect their children or their parenting.
The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed denial of the second parent adoption. The court premised its decision on a strict construction of the Nebraska adoption statute.