Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Same-sex parents' rights expanded

California court says both partners are considered moms

By Adam Liptak
New York Times News Service
Published August 23, 2005

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that both members of a lesbian couple who plan for and raise a child born to either of them should be considered the child's mothers even after their relationship ends.

The court, stepping into largely uncharted legal territory concerning same-sex couples and parenting, issued decisions in three cases, ruling that women whose partners gave birth had parental rights or obligations in all three.

The cases involved a request for child support, a petition to establish parental rights, and a challenge to a lower court ruling issued before a child's birth that the child should have two women listed as parents on her birth certificate.

"We perceive no reason," the court ruled, "why both parents of a child cannot be women."

Courts in about half the states have allowed members of same-sex couples to adopt their partner's children. Monday's decisions considered the separate question of whether the law could require former members of such couples to assume parental rights and obligations.

Being a legal parent "brings with it the benefits as well as the responsibilities," said Justice Joyce Kennard, according to The Associated Press.


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