from Political News
Judge Cauthron ruled in Finstuen v. Edmonson that the Oklahoma law violates the due process rights of a lesbian couple to have their adoption of two children in New Jersey recognized as legally binding in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Representative Thad Balkman expressed displeasure with the ruling. He noted: "It's [Judge Cauthron's] another case of an activist court trying to legislate from the bench. It's unfortunate that a single judge is trying to rewrite the law."
Bill Duncan, Chair of the NARTH Legal Committee has analyzed the case and offered the following observations:
The simplest outline of the decision is:The full text of Judge Cauthron's decision is provided here: Finstuen v. Edmondson.
I. Oklahoma must give full faith and credit to the judgments of other states, including adoption judgments, because there is no public policy exception to enforcement of judgments.
II. The statute violates the equal protection guarantee by stripping families of one parent.A. This violates the plaintiff children's right to one of their parents.
B. This violates the plaintiff adults' rights because (although neutral as to orientation) it will have a disparate impact on homosexuals, is targeted at an identifiable group, and disadvantages that group by denying them access to the government (by keeping them from getting the state's assistance in securing legal recognition of their established relationship with their adopted children).
III. The statute interferes with parental rights to care, custody and rearing of children and, thus creates a due process violation.
IV. Since the statute does not treat non-residents differently from Oklahomans, it does not infringe the right to travel.
My take on this is that point I was somewhat predictable and point IV is clearly correct. Points IIA and III are arguable but the really dramatic holding is point IIB. This application of Romer v. Evans would seem to be easily transferable to the realm of marriage recognition and, to my mind, should raise an alarm. This holding would seem (if it is not overturned on appeal) to provide the mechanism for a federal court to decide that one state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage contracted in another state.