The Superior Court addressed the termination of a father’s parental rights in regards to a same-sex couple’s adoption In the Matter of L.J.I., 57 A.3d 1278 (Pa.Super. 2012). In the case, Mother and Father were not married, and their relationship ended prior to Mother giving birth to a daughter. Father saw his daughter during the first year of her life, but his involvement steadily decreased thereafter, with Father only seeing the child a handful of times after August, 2009. Mother began a relationship with a same-sex domestic partner. Mother and her partner were married in a civil ceremony in New York in 2011. Mother’s domestic partner helped care for and raise the child, developing a relationship with her. In December, 2011, Mother filed a petition for involuntary termination of Father’s parental rights. Mother’s petition stated
that her partner intended to adopt the child if Father’s rights were terminated; however, the domestic partner never filed a petition for adoption or an intention of adoption. At the termination hearing, Mother failed to present evidence regarding her partner adopting the child. The trial court denied Mother’s petition, holding that although the termination would not negatively impact the child, Mother had failed to prove the “planned adoption” element necessary to terminate Father’s parental rights. Mother then appealed the decision. The Superior Court affirmed the decision of the trial court, ruling that a petition to terminate a natural parent’s rights filed by one natural parent against the other is cognizable only if an adoption of the child is foreseeable. The Superior Court reasoned that Mother had failed to meet the statutory requirements and her petition therefore had to be denied. The Superior Court noted that same-sex couple adoptions were permissible in Pennsylvania.