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Alabama same-sex couple files federal lawsuit against state's anti-gay marriage laws

Couple charges because the state doesn't recognize the pair's marriage, the non-biological mother cannot adopt their own son
Couple Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand with thier son Khaya (in the middle)
Freedom to Marry

An Alabama lesbian married couple is taking their fight to have their marriage, and family, legally recognized to the federal courts.

Attorneys for Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand filed papers today, 7 May, in the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Because the southern state only sees marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Searcy can't adopt  McKeand's child.

The couple have been together for 14 years. Their son was born in 2005 --- McKeand underwent artificial insemination. In 2008, they were married in California. Khaya has been raised by the couple and they filed for adoption papers so both could have the same legal rights concerning his care.

'I am a parent in every way to our son, but legally I am still considered a stranger,' Searcy said, according to the activist group Freedom to Marry. 'We just want our son to have the same protections and securities as other Alabama families.'

In late 2012 the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled the state's anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment banned same-sex unions, even if performed in other states.

According to Freedom to Marry, 'Alabama's Sanctity of Marriage Amendment... excludes same-sex couples from marriage and bars them from attaining any other form of family status.'

'The Sanctity Laws single out same-sex married couples for discriminatory purposes, including the Alabama Courts’ refusal to issue the step-parent adoption sought in this case,' the couple's lawyers wrote in court papers.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs are Christine Hernandez, of the Hernandez Firm, and David Kennedy of the Kennedy Law Firm. Both are Mobile, Alabama attorneys.

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