Fla. Must Recognize Gay Adoptions, Court Rules

     (CN) – A Florida appeals court granted a woman visitation rights for the daughter she adopted in Washington state while she was in a same-sex relationship with the girl’s mother.

     Kimberly Ryan gave birth to a girl in 2000. Lara Embry, Ryan’s girlfriend, adopted the child three months later. The couple moved to Florida and broke up in 2004.
     After reaching a visitation settlement, the relationship between the two women deteriorated to the point where Ryan refused to allow Embry to visit the girl in 2007.
     Embry sued for a declaratory judgment to determine parental responsibility and visitation. The trial court ruled for Ryan, based on Florida’s prohibition on same-sex couple adoptions.
     However, Judge Whatley of the Lakeland-based appeals court reversed the decision, citing the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
     “Florida law specifically provides that adoption decrees from other states must be recognized in this state,” Whatley wrote.
     “Regardless of whether the trial court believed that the Washington adoption violated a clearly established public policy in Florida,” the judge added, “it was improper for the trial court to refuse to give the Washington judgment full faith and credit.”

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