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ACLU threatens Maricopa County with same-sex adoption lawsuit

PHOENIX — The American Civil Liberties Union threatened Maricopa County leaders Thursday with a lawsuit to allow same-sex stepparents to adopt their partner’s child.

The suit would allege Lenora Reyes-Petroff was denied adoption services by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office when she attempted to take shared custody of her partner’s son.

Last week, County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office would not assist same-sex stepparents with adoption cases until ordered by either a federal court or the state Legislature.

“This office has never provided adoption petition services in same-sex stepparent situations,” Montgomery’s statement read. “Whether we have provided adoption petition services to individuals who are homosexual is unknown since our office does not solicit that information when fulfilling our legal duties and responsibilities under Arizona law.”

ACLU Legal Director Victoria Lopez said in a letter a 9th Circuit ruling to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage granted same-sex couples the same rights as a heterosexual pair.

“MCAO has a legal and ethical duty to provide adoption support services to married same-sex couples,” the letter read.

The ACLU said Montgomery’s office has until April 20 to respond to Lopez’s letter.

His office declined a request for comment.