Massachusetts high court to hear gay parental rights case
Apr 04, 2016 01:35 AM EDT
An unmarried gay woman, whose ex-girlfriend gave birth to two children through artificial insemination, asked the Massachusetts' top court to decide the complicated case about parental rights.
According to Lowell Sun, Julie Gallagher and Karen Partanen want to be declared as the full legal parent of the children. A judge then dismissed the couple's request, claiming that Karen did not meet the requirements for legal parentage under state law because she and Julie were not married when the children were born. The judge also underlined the fact that Karen is not a biological parent.
Julie acknowledges that Karen has been a good parent and wanted her to have the right to make legal decisions for the children as their biological parent. The kids spend half their time with Karen under a shared custody order.
Yahoo News reported that Karen appealed after the court dismissed her complaint which was filed in a family court. The extent of Karen's parental rights is being disputed under two state laws in Massachusetts.
One law states that children born out of wedlock are entitled to the same protections and rights as children born to married couples, while the other law says that any child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination with the consent of "her husband" is considered the legitimate child of the husband or mother.
However, the case law made by the courts in Massachusetts has recognized the rights of unmarried same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. Karen's lawyer argued that she and Julie presented themselves publicly, even to their friends and family, as the parents and shared equally in terms of parenting responsibilities, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.
Karen is being represented by GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, which is the same group who brought the lawsuit that led to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.