Categories
Archives
Join Our Mailing List

We will send you updates about the changes GLAD is winning in the law and invitations to upcoming GLAD events.

Sign Me Up

Reporters

For more information on a case,
contact Carisa Cunningham at 617-426-1350, or contact by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

April 13, 2016 4:19 pm

What does a law about “paternity” have to do with same-sex couples having children?

All children should be treated equally under the law, and deserve clarity and security about their relationship to their parents - whether or not those parents are married, or are a same-sex or different-sex couple.

In Partanen v. Gallagher, now before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, our client, Karen, a non-birth mother, is seeking to be named a legal parent to the children she has raised from birth.

Karen and her former partner, Julie, mutually agreed to have children with assisted reproduction and then raised the children together until they separated.

Jo and Ja, now 7 and 4, have known Karen as Mommy and Julie as Mama for their whole lives, and have deep bonds with both. Karen and Julie have held themselves out as the children’s parents to the children, to each other, and to the community. But Julie now opposes Karen’s efforts to be recognized as a legal parent.

What Karen wants most is for her children to have a sense of security and permanency. GLAD is fighting by her side to ensure they have the stability, protection, support and legal rights that all children deserve.


Massachusetts’ comprehensive law, Chapter 209C, was put in place so that children who are born to unmarried individuals or couples can get a declaration of who their legal parents are. It is referred to as “the paternity statute” but its own terms say it applies to establish maternity, too.

Chapter 209C is a backstop for children and that was its principal purpose when passed.  It recognizes that children (and their parents) should have a route to determining who is a legal parent even when the parents did not marry and may not have adopted.  With a ruling about legal parentage, both parents must support the child financially (according to ability) and the court will make a judgment about dividing up custody (decision-making and parenting time) as best serves the children’s interest.  So far, unmarried same-sex couples have not had access to this law to establish parentage, and Karen’s case seeks to ensure that all children are protected whether their unmarried parents are same-sex or different-sex. 

Read more about the law and the issues in this case in our Q & A

What Karen wants most is for her children to have a sense of security and permanency. GLAD is fighting by her side to ensure they have the stability, protection, support and legal rights that all children deserve.

Child-centered laws should protect children born from assisted reproduction whether their parents are a same-sex or a different-sex couple.

Comments

This post has no comments.

Leave a Comment

Please enter the word you see in the image below: