In a groundbreaking equal rights decision Tuesday, the state’s highest court extended parental rights to people in same-sex relationships who never married, and have no biological connection to a child, but can show that they acted as a parent and welcomed the child into a shared home.

The Supreme Judicial Court decision was in the case of a Burlington woman who sought parental rights of two children that were born to her former partner by artificial insemination. She had been there when the children were born – she participated in the insemination procedure for the youngest – and shared parental responsibilities with her former partner until their relationship ended, after 12 years. The children called her mommy.

In a unanimous decision, the court found that state law granting parental rights to fathers of children born out of wedlock should extend to same-sex parents, under gender neutral standards. The court found that a biological connection should not be the only claim to parentage, that a parent

“Nothing in the language of [the state law] expressly limits its applicability to parentage claims based on asserted biological ties,” Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court in the 22-page decision. She added, “The plain language of the provisions, then, may be construed to apply to children born to same-sex couples, even though at least one member of the couple may well lack biological ties to the children.”

sdafA woman can seek parental rights to the child her former same-sex partner conceived through artificial insemination, even though the two women had never married, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday in a groundbreaking decision.

The unanimous Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of a couple who had been in a long-term relationship. One of them had two children through artificial insemination. The other woman sought parental rights after they broke up, even though the couple had not been married.

The court concluded that a state law that gives an unmarried biological father the right to prove he is the “presumed parent” after a couple breaks up must now be viewed in gender-neutral terms.

“The plain language of the provisions, then, may be construed to apply to children born to same-sex couples, even though at least one member of the couple may well lack biological ties to the children,’’ Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court. “Nothing in the language of [the state law] expressly limits its applicability to parentage claims based on asserted biological ties.’’

Karen Partanen, of Burlington, who had sought the declaration that she is a parent, welcomed the decision.

“My children have two parents...and they should have the right to both of us,” she said in a press briefing Tuesday.

Mary Bonauto of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which assisted Parenten in the case, said the court appropriately looked at state law with a gender neutral view.

“Her children are going to know she is their parent, she is not there by the grace of someone else, she’s not someone who visits in a while,” Bonauto said. “The real beneficiaries here are the children.”

The children are now 4 and 8 years old.

The decision also addressed a gap in state laws that determine parental rights where artificial insemination is used. Current laws treat a child born through artificial insemination to a married couple as automatically the child of both parents.

The law also give same-sex couples the right to adopt a child born through artificial insemination or to legally acknowledge parentage.

But no law directly addressed the issue of whether a person formerly in a same-sex relationship who had not been married had legal standing to claim parentage to their partner’s child, the court said.

“Had Jo and Ja [the couple’s children] been born to a married couple using artificial reproductive technology, they would have had two legal parents to provide them with ‘financial and emotional support,’ ’’ Lenk wrote. “We decline to ‘read into the statute a provision’...that leaves children born to unmarried couples, using the same technology, with only one such parent.’’

The court said in a footnote that its ruling can also apply to two men who use a surrogate to bear the child who is fathered by one of the men. “Properly read as gender-neutral...these provisions may apply not only to a child born to two women, but also to a child born to two men through a surrogacy arrangement,’’ Lenk wrote.

The case involved Partanen and Julie Gallagher who were a couple for 13 years, during which Gallagher gave birth to two children conceived through artificial insemination. After the unmarried couple broke up, Partanen sought to be declared a parent, a role Gallagher argued in court papers should be hers alone.

The SJC ruled that Partanen can return to Probate and Family Court and convince a judge that she is a “presumed parent’’ by demonstrating that “the children were born to her and to Gallagher, were received jointly into their home, and were openly held out as the couple’s children’’ even though Partanen had no biological relationship to the children.

Lenk was appointed to the SJC by former Governor Deval Patrick. She was the first openly gay member of the state’s highest court. She wed her partner following the SJC’s landmark 2003 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the Globe has reported. They have two daughters.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at milton.valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.


Please Make Note

Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

Google+ Badge

Powered by Blogger.

About Me

My Photo
Jessica Lynn Hepner
View my complete profile

Featured Post

Guide To Child Protection Services

WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW INFORMATION ALL PARENTS NEED TO KNOW Thursday, November 1, 2012 Guide to CPS Guide to CPS Child Protective Se...

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Google+ Followers

Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Ways To Support Syncretism

Blog Archive

Search This Blog



Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

Popular Posts

Edit here

call Veteran Crisis @ 1-800-273-8255 press 1 or you can private/confidential chat to VeteransCrisisLine.net or text to 838255... Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text Free, confidential support for Veterans in crisis and... VETERANSCRISISLINE.NET http://veteranscrisisline.net/

Recent Posts