Andrew & Nick
Andrew Bond and Dr. Nick Van Sickels have been in a committed relationship since 2003 and were married in 2012. Nick is a physician at a New Orleans hospital and works at a clinic in Alexandria. Andrew teaches history at a New Orleans high school.
Nick moved to New Orleans in 2005 to complete his medical residency. After Hurricane Katrina, Nick evacuated to Houston and treated evacuees at the Astrodome. He returned to New Orleans in January 2006 and Andrew moved there to be with him later that year.
Andrew and Nick became engaged in 2008 but decided to wait to marry until their marriage would be legally recognized. In August 2013, after the Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. United States, the couple married in the District of Columbia, where same-sex couples may legally marry.
Like many other committed couples, Nick and Andrew decided to raise a family by adopting a child. Because Louisiana prohibits unmarried couples from jointly adopting and also prohibits same-sex marriage, Nick and Andrew could not jointly adopt so Nick, by himself, adopted their daughter in 2012.
Nick executed provisional custody by mandate in accordance with Louisiana law that provides Andrew with limited legal rights to care for their child. However, the document must be re-executed annually. In the unfortunate situation of Nick’s death, Andrew could lose his rights to their child.
“No parent should have to worry about what would happen to his children after his death,” Nick said. “We have taken all steps that are now legally available to us, but in truth the provisional custody document expires 15 days after the death of the adoptive parent.”
Since Andrew’s rights to their daughter could then be questioned, “We are both concerned,” Andrew said. “This is harmful to our daughter and all children of same-sex couples. I am her dad, too. A dad should not be without legal rights to his children.”
MEET THE PLAINTIFFS: