The U.S. Supreme Court, without hearing oral argument, unanimously reversed an Alabama Supreme Supreme Court ruled in favor of lesbian adoptive motherCourt ruling that denied parental rights to a lesbian adoptive mother who had split with her partner.

The two women, who are identified only by their initials, were together for 16 years. E.L. was the biological mother of the three children conceived by assisted reproductive technology — an older daughter, now 13, and boy and girl twins, now 11.

V.L. subsequently adopted the children with her partner’s explicit consent. The adoption was in Georgia, where both women appeared at a court hearing, and the final adoption decree recognized both as the children’s legal parents.

When the parents, now living in Alabama, split five years ago, however, the biological mother denied her former partner access to the children. The Alabama courts initially ordered a decree of shared custody, based on the Georgia adoption, but the Alabama Supreme Court overturned the lower court orders. The state Supreme Court said the Georgia courts had wrongly agreed to the adoption.

The adoptive mother appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Monday the justices unanimously overruled the Alabama Supreme Court in a short, unsigned opinion.

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Image credit: USA Today