United States

Woman Asks Florida Court to Disregard Law and Grant Her Parental Rights Over Unrelated Child

Today, Liberty Counsel argued before the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland, Florida against recognition of an out-of-state, same-sex adoption. The case involves a woman, Lara Embry, who wants to be recognized as a second parent of the biological child of her former same-sex partner, Kimberly Ryan, who left that lifestyle and became a Christian.

Embry wants Florida courts to recognize and enforce a Washington adoption decree, declare her a second parent and award her visitation with Ryan's daughter. The trial court dismissed Embry's petition, saying that granting her those rights would violate Florida’s public policy as reflected in the statute that prohibits homosexuals from adopting, the state Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and court precedent.

Embry appealed, arguing that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that Florida grant her parental rights. Liberty Counsel took on Ryan’s representation for the appeal, arguing that even where the Full Faith and Credit Clause may require recognition of the existence of an out-of-state law, it does not require that the out-of-state law be enforced.

Pray that the appeals court will agree with the trial court and let Ryan raise her own child without interference from Embry. If Embry wins then homosexuals in Florida could not adopt, but such out-of-state adoptions by same-sex couples or those actively engaged in homosexuality could have their adoptions recognized. Thus, another state's laws and practices could be used to change Florida law.