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Boseman custody case could set same-sex adoption precedent

READ MORE: Boseman custody case could set same-sex adoption precedent

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A state senator's custody battle could decide the future of same-sex adoption in North Carolina. In 2002 Sen. Julia Boseman's then partner Melissa Jarrell gave birth to a son. Three years later Boseman became the boy's second legal parent.

"The biological mom, in such cases, is also informed and agrees that the adoption would be valid forever, even if their relationship breaks up," said Virginia Hager, a family law attorney in Wilmington.

But after the couple split up, Jarrell asked to have the adoption voided, because, she argues, North Carolina does not allow same-sex adoptions in which one partner is the biological parent. Lower courts dismissed that argument and said because Jarrell signed off on the adoption it would stand.

Wednesday the state Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides. So far the state has allowed more than 200 same-sex adoptions with the biological parent's consent. If the state Supreme Court supports the lower court decision, more district court judges could allow these adoptions to take place.

"The family law section may put forth a proposed amendment to the adoption statute to clarify the status of these types of cases and the procedure that should be followed," Hager said.

If the state Supreme Court rules against Boseman, all of the existing adoptions could be challenged. If the court acknowledges Boseman's adoption as valid, it could make the process much easier for future same sex adoptions. A decision could take months.

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