Court upholds adoption in same-sex couple dispute


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a case that has drawn attention from state and national legal groups, an appeals court Friday upheld a woman's adoption of a child in a dispute stemming from the breakup of a same-sex relationship.

The decision by the 5th District Court of Appeal involved two women who were in a relationship from 2005 to 2012. One of the women, identified only by the initials C.P., gave birth after conceiving with an anonymous donor.

In 2011, the couple jointly asked a court to allow the woman who did not give birth, identified as G.P., to legally adopt the child. That was approved in January 2012 and did not affect the parental rights of the woman identified as C.P. The women later separated, and C.P. went to court to argue that the earlier adoption approval for G.P. was legally void.

A Seminole County circuit judge agreed with C.P.'s legal reasoning. But a three-judge panel of the appeals court Friday overturned that decision and said the adoption is not void, writing that it would be "unconscionable to allow C.P. to invoke the jurisdiction of the court for the sole purpose of creating a parent-child relationship between G.P. and D.P.P. (the child) and then to allow her to destroy that same relationship because her relationship with G.P. has ended."

The appeals court sent the case back to a circuit judge with orders to establish a parenting plan dealing with issues such as child support.

"G.P. and C.P. jointly sought to make G.P. a co-equal legal parent of D.P.P., and both joined in the adoption petition,'' said the 11-page ruling, written by Judge Richard Orfinger and joined by Chief Judge Vincent Torpy and Judge Kerry Evander. "D.P.P. regards both C.P. and G.P. as parents, and all three lived as a family for years. C.P. is estopped to argue otherwise."

The ruling indicates that several groups, ranging from the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar to the Lamba Legal Defense & Education Fund, filed briefs in support of G.P.