The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 12, 2012

Court upholds Alabama act banning same-sex marriage

(Continued)

Searcy and McKeand have been together as a couple for 14 years. Searcy said McKeand had artificial insemination so the couple could have Khaya, who both women consider their son. She said the boy is now 6 years old and in the first grade. She said Alabama law only recognizes McKeand as the mother even though the child was raised by both women and refers to Searcy as Mommo and McKeand as Mom.

Searcy said she first started trying to adopt the child when he was a baby and the couple decided to try to get married in California after the adoption application was turned down the first time.

Searcy's attorney, Vivian Beckerle of Mobie, said she had warned the couple not to be surprised if they lost the appeal. She said a purpose of the appeal was to insure that both women had the same legal rights concerning the child's care. Searcy said that was an issue when he had surgery as a baby and only McKeand was allowed to sign permission forms for certain medical procedures.

Beckerle described Searcy and McKeand as "a loving couple."

"They just want to bring him up as a legally recognized family," the attorney said.

Alabama's only openly gay legislator, state Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham, said the court's ruling was disappointing.

"If we truly care about the welfare of children it's most important that they be in a loving family. It restricts the ability to raise the child if only one parent can have custody," Todd said.

Searcy said she believes they have been loving parents for Khaya.

"We try to do our best," she said.

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