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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 14 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 07
Idaho Supreme Court OKs adoption by Lesbian couple
Section One
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Idaho Supreme Court OKs adoption by Lesbian couple

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In a unanimous decision, Idaho's Supreme Court ruled on February 10 that a Lesbian may adopt her wife's children.

Darcy Drake Simpson and Rene Simpson have been together since 1995, and were married last year in California.

Rene has two sons, now 12 and 15 years old, that Darcy wished to adopt; her application was rejected last summer by Ada County Magistrate Cathleen McGregor Irby.

Irby ruled that the couple must be in a legally recognized union, which their marriage is not in the state of Idaho.

'[T]his court concludes that the legislature's intent in relation to adoptions is that the petitioner must be in a lawfully recognized union, i.e. married to the prospective adoptee's parent, to have legal standing to file a petition to adopt that person's biological or adopted child,' she wrote.

The Idaho Supreme Court, however, found that the law says that 'any adult person' may adopt a minor child, and that language clearly allows for one or both partners in a same-sex couple to adopt.

'Any adult person' is defined as any human being over the age of 18 and 'cannot possibly be construed to mean 'any married adult person' as the magistrate ultimately determined,' Justice Jim Jones wrote for the court.

'In sum, the magistrate's interpretation of Idaho law is simply not supported by the plain text of the statute,' Jones continued.

'In light of the unambiguous language in I.C. 16-1501 that allows for 'any adult person residing in and having residence in Idaho' to adopt 'any minor child,' and because chapter 15 contains no provisions that limit adoption to those who are married, Idaho's adoption statutes plainly allow Jane Doe to adopt John Doe and John Doe I.'

Darcy Simpson is referred to as 'Jane Doe' in court documents because in Idaho law adoption cases are under seal to protect the parties' privacy. Darcy and Rene chose to go public with their case in December.

Their attorney, Bill Mauk, said the case would set a precedent for adoption not just by same-sex couples, but also for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others.

Idaho's law banning same-sex marriage might also be struck down by court action in the near future. Four Idaho Lesbian couples filed a lawsuit last year in Federal District Court charging that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. There has not been a substantive ruling in that case.

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