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Judge Threatens Utah Attorney General With Contempt Over Same-Sex Adoption

by Jean Ann Esselink on May 16, 2014

in Civil Rights,Families,Jean Ann Esselink,News

Post image for Judge Threatens Utah Attorney General With Contempt Over Same-Sex Adoption

andrew stoneDistrict Court Judge Andrew Stone, (left) has ordered Utah’s attorney general, Sean Reyes, and two Utah health department officials, to appear in court June 16, to:

 “show why they should not be held in contempt for their willful disregard and refusal to obey the Decree of Step-Parent Adoption.

Judge Stone issued the order in the case of Kimberly and Amber Leary, (photo below) who are one of the 1300 couples married during the short time same-sex marriages were legal in Utah. The Leary’s not only married in that window, Kimberly filed to adopt their 18-month-old  daughter, who is Amber’s natural child.

To make sure families with adopted children are secure, Utah law is clear that after an adoption becomes final, no one can challenge it for any reason under any circumstances. The court offered the attorney general the opportunity to object to Kimberly Leary’s adoption, but he declined.

Judge Stone finalized Kimberly Leary’s adoption March 25, but now the health department refuses to add Kimberly’s name to the birth certificate, on the advice of the attorney general. Instead, Attorney General Reyes is doing what the law forbids – challenging a finalized adoption.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Attorney General Reyes’ response to the summons was to beg the Utah Supreme Court a second time for an emergency order that would halt all adoptions until the high court rules on whether the marriages of the adopting parents are legal. The attorney general made the same request last month, but the court did not respond.

kimberly and amber learyUtah’s Solicitor General Bridget Romano insists the state is not ignoring Judge Stone’s order.  She told the Desert News:

“To have amended the birth certificates as directed by the court would have put the office of vital statistics in a position of having to recognize the marriages and to accord them government benefits, which they believe violates Utah law.”

If Attorney General Reyes, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health, W. David Patton, and the State Registrar of the Office of Vital Records, Janice Houston, do not appear as ordered, or don’t have a persuasive excuse, they can be fined, or imprisoned or both.

All parties have said they will appear in June for the contempt hearing.


Reyes photos via Equality Utah Facebook
Judge Stone’s photo from Utah Courts
Leary photo via YouTube

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BJLincoln May 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

I hope it's both because they don't have a valid reason. Religion and meanness don't count.

LOrion May 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

THE HEAT IS ON… All Gay and Adoptive Families in the Country need to keep up with these cases! All the Supremes are backing themselves into ILLEGAL corners and sooner rather than leter we should get our Loving VS Virginia!

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