Baby Mary never knew her natural father. Her mother had given birth to her after being artificially impregnated while living in a lesbian relationship in California. Mary lived with her mother and her mother’s lesbian partner until she was 4 years old, at which time she and her mother moved out to a place of their own.
Mary’s mother eventually rejected the lesbian lifestyle and in 2005 moved to Alabama where she met and married Mary’s new stepfather. Unfortunately for the new family, neither the mother’s ex-lesbian lover nor the California courts would allow them to forget their past so easily.
The court in California declared the mother’s ex-lesbian lover a de facto parent and granted her visitation rights with Mary. The California judge even went so far as to order that Mary’s birth certificate be changed to reflect that the ex-lesbian lover was Mary’s “parent,” even though she never adopted Mary and could not biologically be her father or her mother.
Mary’s mother filed for a protective order in Alabama where a trial judge ruled that she was the natural mother and the former same-sex partner would have no right to visitation. On appeal the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed the trial court, stating that Alabama must give full faith and credit to the California court order. The case is now on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. (The Foundation for Moral Law will file written arguments in that case today). The minor child’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
It is bad enough that California courts chose to reject God’s law and redefine marriage in May 2008, but can California, or any other state, presume to tell Alabama who is and who is not a “parent” of a minor child under Alabama law? Should a court in California be allowed to dictate that someone who is in no conceivable way a parent under Alabama law be allowed to have visitation rights with a child residing in Alabama? Of course not!
Alabama has a well-established public policy protecting the traditional definition of marriage and families. Like many other states, Alabama has a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” Alabama’s marriage amendment, passed in 2006, also requires that a “union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex … shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state.” The people of Alabama made it clear that same-sex “marriages” or similar “unions” are legally null and void.
Alabama courts have repeatedly held that a parent’s homosexual conduct, still listed in the criminal code as illegal deviate sexual conduct, is grounds for loss or restriction of custody and visitation rights. In 1998, the state legislature clarified the language of the adoption code and passed a joint resolution that stated, “We hereby express our intent to prohibit child adoption by homosexual couples.” It would thus be unconscionable for an Alabama judge to recognize as a “parent” a homosexual partner with no biological connection to a child.
Hypocritically, pro-homosexual advocates, who are always trying to subvert or change the law, often appeal to the U.S. Constitution for support. Article IV, Section I of the Constitution indeed requires that a state must give “full faith and credit” to the “public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State,” but it does not end there. That clause continues by stating that Congress may “prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effects thereof.”
Congress did just that when it passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, providing that no state would be required to give effect to any same-sex relationship “treated as a marriage” in another state, or a “right or claim arising from such relationship.” It has been said of Las Vegas that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The same should be said of California, “What happens in California (should) stay in California,” and DOMA stands for that concept.
But even without DOMA, the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to enforce within its own borders the policy of another state when it would violate its own public policy or laws to do so. Otherwise, California’s liberal state policies would become the law for every other state. Supreme Court Justice and constitutional scholar Joseph Story wrote in 1872 that the Full Faith and Credit Clause “did not make the judgments of other States domestic judgments to all intents and purposes, but only gave a general validity, faith, and credit to them, as evidence. No execution can issue upon such judgments without a new suit in the tribunals of other States.” Alabama may be required to recognize that a California court issued a visitation order, but it is not required to enforce that order in Alabama.
DOMA remains one of the big obstacles to the radical homosexual agenda and is, therefore, currently under legal assault in federal court. Moreover, according to the White House website, Barack Obama wants to repeal it. The same liberals who praise America’s “diversity” are usually the same ones trying to do away with any diversity among the states’ respective family law policies.
America is not just one nation under God, she is also 50 sovereign states under God. While the threat to state sovereignty posed by an ever-expanding federal government is substantial, the states face encroachment from sister states like California that export their immoral definitions of family, marriage and parents. Sufficient for the states are their own troubles; they don’t need California’s, too.