Important ruling for same-sex couples disputing child custody
The Supreme Court of another state has entered a judgment in a same-sex child custody dispute that will likely have impact all across the nation, including Maryland. In the case that may have implications for many same-sex couples, the court decided to grant the same rights of a biological parent to the non-biological mother in a same-sex couple. The ruling is considered the first such of its kind and many are cheering that the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex couples have obtained such a boost.
In the case, a lesbian couple had signed a co-parenting agreement before becoming parents. One of the women then carried two daughters via artificial insemination. The two women raised the children together until their long-term relationship broke up. After that, the biological mother started restricting the other mother’s access to the children. She also moved the children to another state, which further impeded the non-biological mother’s rights to see their children.
The non-biological mother then filed a request in court to enforce the clauses in the co-parenting agreement that the two had signed. Ultimately, the court ruled that it would be in the best interests of the children for that agreement to be respected. Since the girls had spent their entire lives enjoying the love and support of both parents, it wouldn’t be fair to them to take one of the parents away. The biological mother appealed the ruling, but the state’s Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling.
The higher court agreed that it would not be in the best interests of the children to take one of the parents away from them. It further stated that the woman who entered into the co-parenting agreement could not later try and argue that she shouldn’t be required to adhere to it by arguing that it somehow violated her constitutional rights as a parent. The non-biological mother has stated that she firmly believes that if you are a parent, you are a parent-no matter the considerations of how you became one. Many same-sex couples in Maryland would undoubtedly agree.
Source: Wichita Eagle, “Kansas Supreme Court upholds lesbian mother’s rights,” Tony Rizzo, Feb. 22, 2013