Second-Parent Adoptions Ruled Legal in Idaho

idaho_sealGreat news from Idaho this morning: The state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a person can petition to do a second-parent adoption of another’s child, even if the two adults are not married.

UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, writing at the Washington Post, observes, “It bears mentioning that this is not a case dealing with same-sex marriage. Rather, it is strictly a case dealing with Idaho’s adoption laws.” He quotes from the ruling:

The Legislature has imposed no restrictions that would disqualify Jane Doe from seeking to adopt Jane Doe I’s children, and the Court will not imply any such restrictions based upon Idaho’s marital statutes. We emphasize that Jane Doe’s sexual orientation was wholly irrelevant to our analysis. Likewise, it is immaterial in determining whether Jane Doe satisfies the statutory requirements for adoption.

That’s very important. Just as an unmarried different-sex couple may still be legal parents to their child, so should a same-sex couple. Additionally, the court is affirming that the tie between marriage and childrearing, so long used as an argument against marriage equality by the far-right, isn’t really as exclusive or necessary a link as some might think. Once marriage is ruled unnecessary for parentage, then the argument against marriage equality (that marriage is necessary for raising kids) falls by the wayside — so there’s really no more reason not to let us marry, should we wish to do so.

This is great news for the children of same-sex couples in Idaho, who can now have the protection of two legal parents. Congratulations to them, and kudos to the court for doing the right thing.