In re R.A. & M.A.

2007 ME 123
Brief Filed: 10/06
Court: Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Year of Decision: 2007

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 1.96MB)

Issue

Whether the Probate Court can entertain a petition for a joint adoption of a child where the petitioners are not "a husband and wife"

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (discrimination; adoption)

Facts

The case involves a same-sex couple who sought to adopt jointly the two foster children (a 5-year old boy and 9-year old girl) who have been in their joint care for the last 5-plus years. The birth parents’ rights have been terminated. The case is sealed. Therefore, we did not have access to the record or pleadings to evaluate the case in detail. The matter pending in the Probate Court in Cumberland County, Maine, sought an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court on the legal issue of whether the Probate Court can entertain a petition for a joint adoption of a child where the petitioners are not “a husband and wife.” Maine law provides: “A husband and wife jointly or an unmarried person, resident or nonresident of the State, may petition the Probate Court to adopt a person, regardless of age, and to change that person’s name.” Maine law permits a lower court judge to seek advisory opinions on questions of law in certain circumstances.

APA's Position

APA participated in this case by paring back APA’s “marriage brief” (initially filed in New Jersey, Lewis v. Harris), so that it focuses primarily on the nature of sexual orientation and parenting by gay and lesbian parents.

Results

The Maine Supreme court ruled that unmarried couples are entitled to jointly adopt children. The decision applies to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.