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Judges grant adoptions by same-sex couples (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — At least two Dane County judges have granted adoptions that recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

In the latest case Wednesday, Kat Riley adopted the 2-year-old biological daughter of her partner, Teresa Riley. And, Teresa Riley adopted her spouse’s 4-year-old biological son. The Rileys were married last year in Iowa.

Now both children have two parents, instead of one parent and one legal guardian, and have rights including inheritance, death benefits and insurance coverage.

Dane County Circuit Judge Shelley Gaylord says she was bound to recognize the Rileys’ marriage as valid because of the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which requires states to honor each other’s laws, the State Journal (http://bit.ly/1rXX8o6 ) reported.

Attorney Michele Perreault, who has represented couples in successful stepparent adoption proceedings in Dane County, said the scope of Wednesday’s adoption ruling is limited, because it appears unlikely the case will be appealed to a higher court.

“If the attorney general ignores this adoption, which they said they are going to do, it won’t have a broader impact for the state,” Perreault said. “It will not be binding precedent, but will assist judges in considering similar cases.”

The adoptions were granted a day after Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Hundreds of Wisconsin couples were married after federal Judge Barbara Crabb ordered the ban thrown out in June. A week later, Crabb granted Van Hollen’s request that her order be delayed pending appeal. In September, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district judge. The status of Crabb’s order remains unchanged pending action by the high court.

On Aug. 13, Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese granted Sarah Davis and Heather Schaller of Madison what may have been the first adoption by a same-sex married couple in Dane County, and possibly in the state, said Perreault, their attorney.

Davis and Schaller married on June 11 in Madison, and they filed the same day for Schaller to adopt Frances, the daughter Davis gave birth to five years ago.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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