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Maricopa attorney wants Supreme Court ruling on same-sex adoptions

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants the Supreme Court to rule on same-sex stepparents adopting their partner’s child in Arizona.

“We’ve been watching the litigation to see what effect, if any, that it might have,” he said. “Not just on adoption laws, but there are a few other areas of Arizona law, too. I’d prefer to let the U.S. Supreme Court speak, and then we’ll all know what we need to do.”

Montgomery said his office will not assist same-sex stepparents with adoptions until ordered to do so by either a federal court or the state Legislature.

Though his office is responsible for filing adoption petitions and representing prospective adopters in uncontested hearings, Montgomery said a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking a ban on gay marriage in Arizona does not affect adoptions.

The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened Montgomery with a lawsuit if his office continues to deny adoption services.

“MCAO has a legal and ethical duty to provide adoption support services to married same-sex couples,” ACLU Legal Director Victoria Lopez said in a letter.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of gay marriage by late June.

“I’m pretty sure that they’re going to issue an opinion shortly thereafter,” Montgomery said.