Score one for Indianapolis attorney, Barbara Baird and Patricia Logue of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund! Thanks to their hard work, the Indiana Supreme Court today declined to accept an appeal of the decision of In re The Adoption of M.W., Morgan County Office of Family and Children v. R.K.H. and K.A.B. in which the Indiana Appellate Court upheld the adoption of a baby girl by a same sex couple.
The issue presented before the Indiana Appellate Court was "whether the Indiana Adoption Act permits an unmarried couple - any unmarried couple, regardless of gender or sexual orientation - to file a joint petition for adoption." See, this opinion. While two of the deciding appellate judges held in the affirmative, Judge Najem filed a dissenting opinion, stating: "I would hold that Indiana law does not allow an unmarried couple, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, to file a joint petition to adopt a minor child."
Today, Justice Dickson issued a dissenting opinion to the decision by the Indiana Supreme Court not to hear the case, writing as follows:
[O]ur denial of transfer does not constitute approval of the Court of Appeals decision and has "no legal effect other than to terminate the litigation between the parties in the Supreme Court." Ind. Appellate Rule 58(B). But by denying transfer in this case, we are missing a valuable and important opportunity to minimize uncertainty and confusion until such time as the legislature provides explicit superceding reclarification. I would prefer for this Court to grant transfer to uphold the legislature's exclusive authority to regulate adoption eligibility and procedure and to apply Indiana's existing adoption statutes as prohibiting adoptions by unmarried couples. I thus respectfully dissent from denial of transfer.
Is this issue finally resolved? Probably not. There has been legislation introduced in the past to limit adoptions to married couples, which, under Indiana law, means a man and a woman. I think we can expect to see another legislator attempt to limit adoptions to married couples thereby foreclosing children an otherwise unavailable opportunity to be raised in happy and loving homes.
And that will bring me to the subject of my next column - the importance of becoming involved in the Indiana legislative races. Until then, celebrate another bullet dodged!