Adar, et al v. Smith, No. 09-30036 (5th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, two unmarried individuals who adopted a Louisiana-born infant in New York state, sued Louisiana's Registrar of Vital Records and Statistics ("Registrar") when she refused to reissue the infant's birth certificate with plaintiffs' names supplanting the biological parents' names. At issue was whether plaintiffs' had standing to sue on behalf of themselves and the infant, whether federal courts had jurisdiction to decide plaintiffs' claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violation of the full faith and credit clause, and whether plaintiffs had a claim under the equal protection clause. The court held that plaintiffs had alleged actionable claims and had standing to sue on behalf of themselves and their infant. The court also held that the Registrar did not violate the full faith and credit clause by determining how to apply Louisiana's laws to maintain its vital statistics records where there was no basis on which to conclude that failure to issue a revised birth certificate denied "recognition" of the New York adoption decree. The court further held that denying the birth certificate to children of unmarried couples did not violate the equal protection clause where Louisiana had a legitimate interest in encouraging a stable and nurturing environment for the education and socialization of its adopted children and where Louisiana may rationally conclude that parenthood focused on a married couple or single individual, not on the freely severable relationship of partners, furthered the interests of adopted children.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on March 5, 2010.