The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 12, 2012

Court upholds Alabama act banning same-sex marriage

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An appeals court ruled Friday that a Mobile County woman can't adopt her female partner's child because of Alabama's law defining marriage as being between a man and woman.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Cari Searcy can't adopt her partner's child even though the couple was married in California. Searcy said she and Kimberly McKeand were married after responding to a contest advertised in a San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau publication asking people to write an essay explaining why the wanted to marry in California. They married in September 2008 during the brief period before same-sex marriages were banned in California by a ballot measure, Proposition 8.

The unanimous opinion, written by Presiding Judge Bill Thompson, said one member of the couple cannot adopt the other's child. The opinion said marriages between same-sex couples are not recognized in Alabama even if they were conducted in another state.

The women and the child were only identified by initials in the court ruling, but Searcy told The Associated Press that she and McKeand were OK with being identified.

Searcy was appealing a decision of Mobile County Probate Court that she could not adopt the child, Khaya, because under Alabama law she and McKeand were not considered to be married.

A supporter of Alabama's law banning same sex marriage, Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa, said he believes this is the first time a court has upheld a 2006 constitutional amendment that declared marriage was between a man and a woman.

"This ruling solidifies the fact the institution of marriage includes a man and a woman raising the children," Allen said.

In the opinion, the court says Searcy's marriage to McKeand is not recognized and therefore under Alabama law she "is not the spouse of the child's mother."

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