- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2004

Oklahoma’s governor signed legislation this week ensuring homosexual couples from other states can’t force Oklahoma to list both partners’ names on a child’s adoptive birth certificate.

The new law overturns a March decision by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson that when a child is born in Oklahoma and adopted in another state by a same-sex couple, Oklahoma must recognize that adoption and issue an adoptive birth certificate listing both homosexual partners as parents.

The attorney general’s decision disturbed some state lawmakers. The newly signed legislation mandates that Oklahoma, its agencies and courts “shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction.”

Both the state House and Senate passed the proposal last month as part of a larger bill dealing with foreign adoptions. Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, signed that larger bill on Monday.

“To us, it was a matter of them continuing to erode our concept of what is legitimate adoption,” said state Sen. James A. Williamson, the Republican who crafted the legislation. He said Oklahoma has never recognized both members of a same-sex couple as adoptive parents and “we wanted to show as a policy of our state that we don’t agree with other states” allowing such recognition.



Until the March ruling, the Oklahoma Health Department had refused to list both out-of-state same-sex partners as parents on adoptive birth certificates because it conflicted with Oklahoma’s adoption policy. But health department officials asked for a formal ruling by the attorney general after a few out-of-state couples demanded that Oklahoma list both partners’ names.

“The radical homosexual agenda includes trying to be recognized both as married couples and as a … family union,” Mr. Williamson said. “That’s their agenda and they’re going to continue pushing the envelope. … The whole concept of family … is being challenged across the nation.”

The new law makes clear that Oklahoma will not recognize same-sex adoptions from other states and will recognize only one of the parents in these situations, Mr. Williamson said.

Brian Chase, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, the legal arm of the homosexual advocacy group Lambda, said the ramifications go way beyond adoptive birth certificates and his group is contemplating a lawsuit against the state.

“It looks like Oklahoma wants to pretend these adoptions never took place,” he said.

Mr. Chase said the law means that if a same-sex couple adopts a child in another state and then moves to Oklahoma, the child would be an orphan in the eyes of state law, meaning the couple couldn’t register the child for school, visit the child in the hospital or take numerous other parental actions. He said this also would apply if a same-sex couple is simply visiting Oklahoma with their child.

The potential lawsuit would be based on the grounds that the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution “requires states to recognize out-of-state judgments from courts, without exception,” and an adoption is such a judgment, Mr. Chase said. He will meet with clients next week to discuss legal action.

Timothy Tardibono, assistant general counsel in the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said the state will recognize only one parent when a same-sex couple brings a child to Oklahoma.

After the attorney general’s ruling, the health department issued adoptive birth certificates to same-sex couples from Washington state and Massachusetts whose adopted children were born in Oklahoma. Mr. Tardibono said those certificates likely will stand because the new law is not retroactive.

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