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Feminist News


January-27-97

Laws Covering Parental Custody Often Shut Out Lesbian Mothers

For years lesbian and gay rights advocates have fought for courts to award once married homosexuals legal recognition of parenting rights. Now, Gay rights advocates have a somewhat different problem - lesbians and gay men who break up with their same-sex partners and seek custody of children which the couple adopted or gave birth to as a result of artificial insemination during the relationship. The National Center for Lesbian Rights reports that more and more lesbians and gays who have formed families without legal recognition often end up without any legal recourse after a break-up. In 1991 a northern California state appeals court rejected arguments that a lesbian should be given legal standing to seek parental rights for her child because she was the de facto parent of two children born to her former partner during their relationship. The court ruled that to extend her the legal definition would "expose other natural parents to litigation brought by child care providers of long standing, relatives, successive sets of stepparents or other close friends of the family."

Media Resources: The Los Angeles Times - January 27, 1997