The California Supreme Court is considering a request by a lesbian woman that could nullify thousands of adoptions by homosexual couples in the state.
A pro-family group contends the parental-rights case exposes illegal policies of liberal judges, Gov. Gray Davis and his Department of Social Services.
Gov. Gray Davis
“Gray Davis made up his own law and pushed through gay adoptions behind the voters’ backs,” insisted Randy Thomasson, executive director of Campaign for California Families, a nonprofit family issues group.
The case centers on “second-parent adoption,” in which a birth mother’s unmarried partner adopts the mother’s child, usually conceived by artificial insemination. Under this arrangement, the birth mother retains parental rights.
At a hearing Wednesday, Sharon Silverstein, who had created a second-parent adoption with her former partner, contested the arrangement as illegal.
Silverstein gave birth via artificial insemination in 1999 and had agreed to have her 10-year partner, Annette Friskopp, adopt the boy, Joshua. However, the couple split up while the adoption was pending and Silverstein withdrew her consent.
Arguing before the state Supreme Court, Silverstein’s attorney John Dodd contended the consent was invalid because the “second parent” policy is illegal.
The policy, promoted by Gov. Davis and certain judges, was never authorized by the legislature, Dodd argued.
Such adoptions, the attorney maintained, were illegally “invented” by Davis’ Department of Social Services.
In 1999, the Davis administration quietly rescinded a 1995 executive order by then-Republican Gov. Pete Wilson that prohibited unmarried couples from adopting children and preferred married couples as prospective parents.
Thomasson noted the Davis policy is similar to rulings from judges in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas that approved second-parent adoptions for homosexual couples.
“Four years ago, [Davis] used deception rather than the law to promote his belief that children should be raised in a homosexual environment, despite all the evidence to the contrary,” Thomasson said. “I feel sorry for the children and sorry that the people of California have had to endure this miscarriage of justice.”
At the time of the governor’s 1999 action, spokesman Michael Bustamante said the decision should not be interpreted to mean Davis is in favor of gay adoptions.
“The previous administration took a position on adoptions. This administration is not,” Bustamante said. “This governor has made the determination that the professionals, not the state, are best suited to decide” which couples would make suitable adoptive parents.
Thomasson argued, however, “California law and the bulk of evidence agree that it’s in a child’s best interest to be raised by a mother and a father.”
The appointed attorney for the child at the center of the dispute, Judith Klein, told justices allowing Joshua to be adopted into a torn relationship “subjects this little boy to major litigation for many years to come,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The Silverstein case came to the high court when it held up a 2001 appeals court decision last year that decided California law does not allow homosexual adoptions. In January, the legislature responded with a law allowing adoptions by registered domestic partners.
A decision is expected within 90 days.
Meanwhile, Thomasson’s group has joined in an effort to recall Davis.
On its website, the Campaign for California Families says: “Disguising his intolerant homosexual and transsexual agenda as a ‘war against hate,’ Davis has signed eight laws undermining the sacred institution of marriage by awarding spousal benefits to homosexual ‘partners’ – this despite 61.4 percent of Californians who voted to protect marriage three years ago with Proposition 22.”