(Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

An Alabama lesbian mother is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by the state’s highest court that it will not recognize her adoption of three children in neighboring Georgia.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that Georgia courts violated their own state laws in granting the adoptions of the children she shared with her former partner and will not order custody or even visitation with the children.

Lawyers for V.L., as the woman is identified in court papers, say the decision violates the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, which requires that states respect court judgments, including adoption orders, issued by courts in other states.

They also ask the Supreme Court to order that V.L. be allowed to visit the children, who live in Alabama.

The case represents a new round of legal challenges in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in June that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Gay rights groups have said legal marriage will not solve the myriad of problems for gay parents, particularly those who were raising children together before the legalization of same-sex unions and then split up.

Advocates are now trying to make the case that these parents, who may have had no choice but to raise children outside the legal protections of marriage, should have some ability to maintain relationships with their non-biological children.

V.L., represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision “flouts a century of precedent on the Full Faith and Credit Clause and will have a devastating impact on Alabama adoptive families.”

V.L and E.L. were in a long-term same-sex relationship that began in 1995. The two never married because the law did not allow it.

But they planned to have and raise three children together, using donor insemination. E.L gave birth to one in 2002 and twins in 2004. There is no dispute that they were co-parents and that the two women began to look for a way to ensure that V.L. had secure parental rights.

They moved briefly to Georgia, where they had been told courts were more hospitable to second-parent adoptions. The Georgia courts agreed in 2007, and V.L. and E.L. were recognized as the children’s parents.

The couple moved back to Alabama — court papers indicated they never really left — and split up in 2011. The legal dispute began when V.L. sought joint custody. According to V.L.’s complaint, E.L. kept V.L. from seeing the children, fighting her request for visitation and arguing that the Georgia adoption was invalid in Alabama.

Lower courts in Alabama disagreed. But the state Supreme Court in September ruled 6 to 1 that Georgia courts had made a mistake interpreting their own state’s laws and that V.L.’s petition for adoption should not have been granted without E.L. giving up her parental rights.

V.L.’s petition, filed by Washington lawyer Paul M. Smith, says the decision is not Alabama’s to make.

“The Georgia Superior Court’s adoption order has never been overturned by any Georgia court and remains binding on Georgia officials, so in Georgia, V.L. is the children’s legally recognized adoptive mother,” the petition states. “Yet in Alabama, as a result of the decision below, V.L. is a legal stranger to her children.”

Although the Alabama Supreme Court said it was not ruling on the reasoning of Georgia’s decision, the petition said there was reason for concern about the court’s motivations.

Earlier this year, it told Alabama officials not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite a federal court’s decision that the state’s prohibition was unconstitutional.

And one of the justices in the majority in the adoption case noted that Alabama “has a legitimate interest in encouraging that children be adopted into the optimal family structure, i.e., one with both a father and a mother.”

Sandhya Somashekhar contributed to this report.