Supreme Court’s gay marriage oral arguments today center on Adopted children

Paul Campion, left rear, and Randy Johnson, with children, from left, Tevin Johnson-Campion, DeSean Johnson-Campion, Mackenzie Johnson-Campion, and Tyler Johnson-Campion

Children are at the heart of today’s historic US Supreme Court oral arguments on gay marriage and gay rights.

The arguments came from attorneys arguing on behalf of the various parties in different states who entered challenges in courts that have worked their way up to the highest court in the land.

One party is a couple that got married in California then moved to Kentucky and adopted four children  a set of twin boys, a son and a daughter, now ages 20, 16 and 11, respectively.

Because Kentucky does not recognize same-sex marriage, one father, Paul Campion became the sole adopted parent of the boys, twins Tevin Johnson-Campion and Tyler Johnson-Campion, and DeSean Johnson-Campion. Campion’s husband Randy Johnson is sole adopted parent to daughter Mackenzie Johnson-Campion.

The two complained that they bump into a host of problems related to their children’s medical care and education because of the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage.  They say they’ve always had to make sure all the schools were aware that despite the various layers of custody, they both should be informally acknowledged as parents of all four kids.

“We firmly believe we are just like any other family in the country,”  Johnson said. “We shouldn’t be treated any differently.”

From left, parent Michael De Leon; son Isaiah, 17;

parent Gregory Bourke; and daughter Isabella, 16

Another Kentucky couple Gregory Bourke and Michael De Leon are separate adoptive dads to their 16 and 17-year old children also in  Kentucky.

Kentucky argues that because of the need for procreation, its limit on marriage to opposite sex couples is justified.

Their cases were consolidated with multiple others from Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee into one, Obergefell v. Hodges.  The court is tasked with deciding whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to license marriages between two people of the same sex, and whether the states must recognize such unions performed legally elsewhere.

About a couple dozen interested parties filed friend of the court briefs in favor of one side or the other.

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops filed a friend of the court brief in support of the states that do not recognize gay marriage.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky, a Lexington-based group that pushed for the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, supports the state.

“We believe the best argument is that it is a rational belief that the best place to raise children is in a family with a biological mother and father,” Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst with the foundation, said in an interview.

This case should be decided in June. Right now, those who study the court say Justice Kennedy seems will be the swing vote.

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