Most adults take for granted their right, through marriage and adoption, to legally protect their relationship with children. A substantial segment of adults, however, cannot take this right for granted. In some states these individuals are denied the right to have a legal relationship with their partners' children because they are lesbians. The rights and needs of children in these nontraditional families could be recognized through second parent adoptions. In essence, a second parent adoption is the adoption of a child by the partner of the child's natural or legal parent. For example, suppose a lesbian couple, Emily and Lynn, decide to have a child. Emily conceives the child through artificial insemination. Lynn, the nonbirth parent, then petitions the court to adopt Emily's child and the court grants this adoption without terminating Emily's parental rights. The child then has two legal parents through the second parent adoption process.
Carrie Bashaw, Protecting Children in Nontraditional Families: Second Parent Adoptions in Washington, 13 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 321 (1990).