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Mother Loses Bid to Get Son Back From Gay Couple

April 12, 1994

SEATTLE (AP) _ A woman who gave up custody of her son, then tried to get him back after he was placed with gay foster parents, has no grounds for her case, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that Megan Lucas of Orcas Island lacked standing to file a petition to adopt the 3-year-old boy because she had already relinquished her parental rights.

The decision reversed a ruling by Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Steve Mura, who said the boy could be placed with Lucas while the state evaluated whether she could adopt him.

Lucas, who had the child when she was an unwed teen-age mother but later married, surrendered her parental rights on Sept. 8, 1992, after a history of child neglect, drug and alcohol abuse. She filed a request to reverse the decision on Sept. 9, 1993 - a day too late under state law. That left adoption her only chance.

But Judge Rosselle Pekelis wrote that under state law, ″termination of parental rights deprives a parent of standing to appear in all legal proceedings concerning his or her child.″

The boy has been living with Ross and Louis Lopton of Seattle, who were granted custody as foster parents by the state Department of Social and Health Services. Despite Mura’s ruling, the boy remained with the Loptons because they state obtained a stay pending appeal.

The Loptons hope to adopt the boy. Washington is one of six states in which adoptions by same-sex couples are allowed.

In court papers Lucas, 22, said having the boy raised by a gay couple was ″her worst nightmare.″ But she has also told The Associated Press that she wasn’t fighting to regain custody because the Loptons are gay.

The decision will be appealed to the state Supreme Court and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Richard C. Kimberly, Lucas’ lawyer.

The father of the boy has never come forward. Lucas, who is 6 months pregnant, is separated from her husband, Wade Lucas. The couple has a daughter. Despite the separation, both want to pursue the adoption case, Kimberly said.