In Congress and the courts, supporters of gay rights are attacking the Defense of Marriage Act, which among other things allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. But there is no law that gives states a similar ability to reject another state's adoption.
That's why we're puzzled by a ruling issued last week by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that Louisiana rightly refused to issue a birth certificate including both names of a gay couple who adopted a child.
The two men adopted their son, who was born in Louisiana, through an agency in New York. Louisiana law requires state officials to issue a new birth certificate for an adopted child that "shall list the names of the adoptive parents." But Louisiana also prohibits adoptions by unmarried couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual. So the state declined to issue a birth certificate with both names.
A federal District Court judge had ruled in the couple's favor, but the appeals court disagreed. In the majority opinion, Chief Judge Edith Jones wrote that Louisiana had a "rational preference for stable families." But that argument is undercut by the fact that the state allows adoptions by single adults — just not unmarried couples.