Tonight the Tenth Circuit, in Finstuen v. Crutcher, held unconstitutional under the Full Faith & Credit Clause an Oklahoma statute barring recognition of adoptions by same-sex couples finalized in another state. States usually recognize adoptions from foreign jurisdictions, but Oklahoma carved out an exception for adoptions by same-sex couples. Said the court:
We hold today that final adoption orders and decrees are judgments that are
entitled to recognition by all other states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
Therefore, Oklahoma’s adoption amendment is unconstitutional in its refusal to
recognize final adoption orders of other states that permit adoption by same-sex
couples. Because we affirm the district court on this basis, we do not reach the
issues of whether the adoption amendment infringes on the Due Process or Equal
On the Full Faith & Credit issue, the decision was 2-1; the dissenting judge felt it was not necessary to reach that question. On first glance the opinion appears quite narrow and doesn’t affect the state’s ability to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, but I haven’t had time to read it carefully. I may have more to say about it tomorrow.