Even though the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granted same-sex couples the right to marry in every state in the nation, the family law issues they face are still present in many states. As you’ve probably seen on the news, some county clerks have denied requests for marriage licenses. And in some states, laws have yet to catch up in order to provide guidance on issues like divorce and child custody.
On the topic of adoption, lagging state laws create profound problems for same-sex parents. As you may not know, some states still do not allow second-parent adoptions, which grant parental rights to a second parent who is not biologically linked to the child while maintaining the parental rights of the biological parent. Thankfully, Maryland is one state that does allow second-parent adoptions, which means it offers a respite for wary same-sex parents looking to give a forever home to a child in need.
In some states, prospective adoptive parents need to reside in a state for a specified period of time before filing for adoption. This is not the case in Maryland though. This offers out-of-state couples more flexibility when it comes to adoption as well.
Even though our state offers same-sex couples more freedom with the adoption process than other states, it’s important for same-sex couples to know that the process can still be labor intensive, requiring in-home visits with social workers and the proper filing of legal documents. Whether the same-sex couple comes from out of state or they reside in our jurisdiction, seeking legal counsel may also be necessary so as to ensure adherence to the law.
Sources: The People’s Law Library of Maryland, “Adoption,” Accessed Feb. 10, 2016
Statelaws.findlaw.com, “Maryland Adoption Laws,” Accessed Feb. 10, 2016
The Human Rights Campaign, “Second Parent Adoption,” Accessed Feb. 10, 2016