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Same-sex parent seeks child custody rights

Another custody battle between same-sex parents is making headlines in Texas and across the nation. In this case, two women were legally married and decided to bring a child into the world using a sperm donor. When the relationship deteriorated, the parties began arguing over parental rights in a child custody case.

As is so often the case, the woman who gave birth to the child is making the legal argument that she meets the definition of parent while her partner should be afforded a less formal position. The case also involves the man who donated sperm, and who has been granted parental status. That leaves the child's second mother in a tenuous legal position.

Even though she has visitation rights with her son and makes child support payments, she has no legal parental rights due to the fact that she shares no biological connection to the boy. Yet, the sperm donor has a legal and biological tie to the child, even though he plays no parental role. Her attorney argues that, when the Supreme Court legitimized same-sex marriage, custody rights and parental status were also part of that package.

That approach has been backed by multiple child custody cases across the nation. However, there are other cases where same-sex parents have been denied parental status. As it stands, courts in Texas and across the country are tasked with determining these matters on a case-by-case basis. Many believe that this places an undue burden on same-sex parents and requires them to take legal positions that heterosexual parents are not asked to consider.

Source:, "Mississippi woman seeks parental rights in same-sex divorce", Jeff Amy, Nov. 29, 2017

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