Court Sides With Ex-partner Of Girl's Birth Mother
By LYNNE TUOHY
Originally printed 7/10/2014 (Issue 2228 - Between The Lines News)
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled July 2 that the ex-partner of a 12-year-old's girl's mother has made her case to be considered a parent under the law.
The unanimous ruling makes New Hampshire the fourth state in the country to extend similar parental protections to same-sex parents, including a parent with no biological tie to the child.
The court ruled that the Uniform Parentage Act "is based on a person's conduct, not a biological connection."
The case pitted Madelyn B.'s birth mother, Melissa, against her former partner, Susan. Because it's a custody case, no last names were used.
The pair split up when Madelyn was 6 but continued to co-parent until 2013, when Melissa cut off the relationship and moved to terminate Susan's guardianship. Melissa also began proceedings to have her new husband adopt Madelyn.
Madelyn was born in 2002, before the state adopted civil unions and later legalized gay marriage.
The court ordered the family court in Derry to schedule a "prompt" hearing to set up Susan's re-acquaintance with the daughter she hasn't seen since March of 2013.
"It's a terrific opinion," said Susan's lawyer, Janson Wu, a senior staff attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD.) "It recognizes that a child has two parents regardless of their sexual orientation of the circumstance of the child's birth."
Wu said Susan did not want to comment.
Attorney Joshua Gordon, who represents Melissa, said his client has no avenue of appeal.
"The state Supreme Court is the end of the line for her," Gordon said. He predicts the ruling will affect only a small number of couples, because gay marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since 2010.
"The genesis of this situation was two women who were trying to do in 2002 what we consider commonplace today," Gordon said. "As a matter of precedent, it's pretty narrow."
The court noted that Susan's presence in Madelyn's life had been constant before Melissa moved to end it.
The ruling notes the couple searched for a sperm donor that reflected Susan's Irish heritage, sent out birth announcements naming them both as parents, obtained legal guardianship for Susan in 2002 and jointly made decisions about Madelyn's health care, religion and education. Melissa is known to Madelyn as "Mommy" and Susan as "Momma."
The family court in April 2013 suspended guardianship at Melissa's request and barred Susan from intervening in the adoption proceedings. The Supreme Court vacated the family judge's orders and sent the case back for a new hearing.
"For unwed, same-sex parents, it's a whole new world where courts in New Hampshire finally allow both parents to be able to protect their relationship with their child," Wu said.
- Couple Behind Alabama Gay Marriage Case Grateful For Ruling
- Some California Judges With Ties To Boy Scouts Question Ban
- Indiana Legislature To Soon Take Up Religious Freedom Bill
- Transgender Teen's Death Stirs Action In US And Beyond
- Virginia Panel Rejects Adoption By Unmarried Gay Couples
- Russian Officials Deny Trans Impact Of Driving Ban
- New Thai Constitution Would Protect LGBT Rights
- Federal Judge Stays Alabama Gay Marriage Ruling For 2 Weeks
- Transgender Youth At High Risk For Negative Mental Health Outcomes
- Gay Marriage Ban Ends As Couples Wed Throughout Florida
- LGBT-Owned Businesses Get Diversity Boost
- Beyond Marriage, Challenges Ahead For Gay Rights Groups
- Study: Only 16 Percent Of Men Who Have Sex With Men Report Using Condoms 'Always'
- New Data Shows U.S. Benefiting From Same-Sex Marriage
- Art Galleries
- Robert Kidd Gallery
- Campus; Student and Alumni Groups
- Speaking Out Loud
- Entertainment Agency
- The Studios Events Group
- Florists/Floral Design
- Westborn Farm Market
- Home Inspectors
- Widman Home Services, Inc.
- Allstate Insurance Co
- Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
- Religious & Spiritual
- Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church
- The Hot House
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Kathy Griffin Reveals Death-Related Talk With Joan Rivers, Plans To Get Fired From 'Fashion Police' & Cher's Health
- Missing Person Found In Metro Detroit
- EXCLUSIVE! Gwen Stefani On Why She Paints Her Boys' Nails, Meeting Gays 'Late In Life' & Her (Lack Of) Girl Crushes
- Q&A: Harvey Fierstein Opens Up On The Success Of 'Kinky Boots,' His 'Legendary Disaster' & 'Insulting' Double Standards
- Marriage Of 300 Same-Sex Couples Ruled Valid In Michigan
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.View More World AIDS Day
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!