July 20, 2012
By Jacob Combs
The GA Voice reports that the Georgia Court of Appeals has upheld a lesbian couple’s second-parent adoption, although the court declined to address the state’s marriage equality ban on the legality of second-parent adoptions in general. The complex case arose after Nicole Bates, who became pregnant through a sperm donation in 2007, requested that her partner Tina be allowed to adopt the child as a second legal parent. A Fulton County judge approved the adoption. From the GA Voice:
In 2010, the couple broke up and the biological mother, Nicole Bates, went back to Judge Glanville and asked the adoption be voided. Judge Glanville told Nicole Bates that she did not file within the six-month time limit allowed to challenge adoption cases, so the second-parent adoption was still legal.
Not satisfied, Nicole Bates appealed the judge’s decision to the Court of Appeals, which eventually dismissed the case. Nicole Bates went to the state Supreme Court seeking to void the adoption of her former partner, but the state Supreme Court also decided to not hear the case.
Tina then filed for custody of the child, but when the Georgia Supreme Court would not hear the case, Nicole filed a motion asking Henry County to dismiss Tina’s request since Georgia does not allow second-parent adoptions between couples who are not married. A state judge in Henry County sided with Nicole, but Tina requested that an appeals court invalidate the ruling, arguing that the case had already been decided in Fulton County. The Court of Appeals sided with Tina, but stated clearly in its decision that it decided “nothing in this case about whether Georgia law permits a ‘second parent’ adoption.”
You can read the court’s full ruling below.