Alabama probate judge refuses to finalize adoption for marriage case plaintiffs

Even as a majority of probate judges across Alabama continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the reality of marriage discrimination has persisted for many families in the state.

This week Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, plaintiffs in the case that brought the freedom to marry to Alabama, were told by Mobile Probate Judge Don Davis that Cari cannot finalize the adoption of her 9-year-old son, who she has been raising since his birth, until the United States Supreme Court rules on the marriage cases it will consider later this spring.

Judge Davis’ decree comes despite a federal order issued February 12 in Cari and Kim’s legal case specifically binding Judge Davis and his colleagues in Mobile County from enforcing the anti-gay, anti-marriage amendment denying respect to legally married same-sex couples. Kim and Cari have been together for more than 15 years, and they were legally married in California in 2008.

Read more about Cari and Kim's story here.

Cari Searcy, plaintiff in the Searcy v. Strange case who has been fighting for a legal connection to her son for nine years, released the following statement:

“For so long, I have been told that I was not legally connected to my son, so when the order came down declaring the Alabama marriage ban unconstitutional, Kim and I were elated. All we ever wanted was the legal protection and security that would come from being able to both be legally recognized as parents to our little boy, who we love so much. But this latest decree from Judge Davis is forcing us to wait even longer for that security, and it’s just not right. My family should not be told to wait for these basic protections – and neither should any other Alabama family.”

Ben Cooper, board chair of Equality Alabama, released the following statement: 

“Judge Davis' attempt to delay this final adoption is unconscionable, a deliberate attempt to keep Alabama on the wrong side of history. The refusal to finalize the order legally respecting Cari as what she is - her son's mother – violates the federal injunction issued specifically against Judge Davis earlier this month. Equality Alabama stands with Cari and Kim as they cope with the damage and disrespect that Judge Davis is perpetuating on their family. We call for final resolution on the freedom to marry in Alabama so that no couple will ever again face an injustice like this in our state.”

Freedom to Marry is working with our partners at Equality Alabama, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and legal partners to continue pushing for the freedom to marry in Alabama until all same-sex couples, in every county, can say "I do" in Alabama. 

And take a minute to send a message of support to Cari & Kim HERE.