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Ruling a relief for couple who had planned to move

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

By Steve Levin, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Before yesterday, Amy and Dana Kern were planning to leave the North Hills and move to a state that allowed same-sex adoptions.

Amy, left, and Dana Kern play with Payton in the sandbox at their home. (Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette)

Parents of Dana's 22-month-old biological child, Payton, and expecting a second child in November, the couple figured relocation was a small price to pay.

Now, with yesterday's Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling permitting gay and lesbian adoptions, those plans are on hold.

"Spiritually, in our minds, Payton's always had two mommies," said Amy, 31, a professor of graphic design at the Art Institute. "I didn't feel like she was missing anything, but that support and that acknowledgment that there's a legal system that's going to protect her rights and our rights as a family is very important."

Dana, 35, a painter, and Amy have been partners for six years. Amy felt the court ruling was a legal recognition of them as a couple and as parents.

"It's something that I commonly thought about simply because having the rule [against gay and lesbian adoptions] put the pre-conceived notion in people's minds that it was wrong to have same-sex adoption in the first place," she said.

Amy has legal guardianship of the couple's daughter. She plans to adopt both Payton and the couple's second child.

Steve Levin can be reached at slevin@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1919.

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