TULSA, Okla. - An adoption decree granted to a married lesbian couple in Okmulgee County is believed to be among the first same-sex adoptions in Oklahoma, the women's attorney says.
Two young boys in state Department of Human Services care were adopted by the Tulsa women in a Dec. 19 proceeding conducted by Associate District Judge Duane Woodliff, who has since retired, the Tulsa World reported Sunday.
"I've been an attorney for 20 years, and I've done thousands of adoptions, and I've done adoptions for gay people before, but we could never adopt as a couple," the couple's attorney, Terri Craig, said. "They were excited to get their story out and let other gay couples know it is at least an option."
In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals in cases from Oklahoma and other states, meaning same-sex marriages became legal in those states. The state's adoption code hasn't been rewritten since the decision, Craig said, and makes mention only of a "husband and wife."
Craig said state statutes "can be interpreted to allow same-sex (adoptions)."
"An unmarried couple could not adopt in the state of Oklahoma. A married couple can. That's what kicked the door open for us," she said.
Woodliff said he believes the adoption was appropriate. He had been familiar with the children since they were removed from their original living situation.
"To me it was the right thing to do," Woodliff said. "I wasn't intending it as trailblazing. ... I felt good about it and pleased and happy that these kids had two parents."
The women declined to give their names because the boys had been in the custody of DHS, for which case information is not available to the public.
The couple, who had been together 13 years and married in November, told the newspaper they'd been trying to adopt the boys for about two years.