High court voids Alabama ruling against lesbian adoption, Harper Lee's will sealed

Mar 7, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court says Alabama’s highest court overstepped its bounds when it invalidated a lesbian mother’s adoption. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more.

 The Supreme Court ruled unanimously to throw out an Alabama Supreme Court decision denying a lesbian woman adoption rights she had previously been granted.

The woman had adopted three children with a former partner. When she tried to ensure her visitation rights, the Alabama Supreme Court said her adoption was invalid.

National Center for Lesbian Rights family law director Cathy Sakimura represented the woman. She says this decision secures adoption rights in every state.

“There is no question that the Constitution requires that every state has to recognize their adoption. No state can decide later that it doesn’t like the adoption, or it doesn’t like the law that was applied in the adoption, and then just make people not parents anymore.”

The woman now has full rights as an adoptive parent.

An Alabama probate judge seals the will of author Harper Lee from public view.

Court records available today showed Monroe County Probate Judge Greg Norris signed the order a week ago. Lawyers for Lee's personal representative and attorney, Tonja Carter, asked Norris to seal the will the same day.

The request from Carter cited the writer's longtime desire for privacy. The motion says Lee wouldn't want her private financial affairs to be a matter of public discussion.

Carter's attorney wrote that the "To Kill a Mockingbird" author left a literary legacy for the public, but it's not anyone's business to know what she left for her beneficiaries.

The request says Lee's relatives agreed with the request for privacy.

Lee died last month at age 89.

A new study about parents of children with cancer is underway at the University of Alabama.

The study is being done by the University of Alabama’s College of Human Environmental Sciences. The study will be looking at parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer within the last six months to see how they emotionally handle the treatment process.

Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader is heading up the team. He feels this study will help future parents in handling the situation…

“I think what this is going to tell us, it’s going to give us more information about how just the ups and downs of the daily experiences for these parents because that’s missing in the literature.”

Participants can be compensated $10 a day for doing the study for up to seven days.