Mass. Court Grants Full Parental Rights To Unmarried Gay Woman

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that an unmarried gay woman whose former girlfriend gave birth to two children through in vitro fertilization has the same parental rights as their biological mother.

Julie Gallagher gave birth to the children, and her former partner, Karen Partanen, has helped raise them.

After the couple split, Partanen wanted to be declared a full legal parent.

“The two children in this case, like all children, deserve equal consideration under the law, whatever the circumstances of their birth,” Partanen’s attorney Mary Bonauto said.

A family court judge dismissed Partanen’s request, finding that she didn’t meet the requirements under state law because she and Gallagher were not married when the children were born, and Partanen is not a biological parent.

Gallagher said then that she was challenging Partanen’s bid to be declared a full legal parent, which would allow her to share in virtually every decision made about the children.

“I am a biological mother. I wanted to have children. They’re my world, and it’s my right to make legal decisions for them,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher’s lawyer argued that Partanen was trying to obtain legal rights she would be entitled to only if she had married Gallagher, adopted the children or filed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

The Supreme Judicial Court overturned that ruling Tuesday, finding that a person may establish themselves as a child’s presumptive parent under state law, even without a biological relationship with the child.

More than 35 states confer parentage on spouses who consent to assisted reproductive technology, as Partanen did. Seven of those states and the District of Columbia give legal parentage to the person who consents to the procedure with the intent to parent the resulting child, without regard to marital status, according to fertility associations and attorneys who submitted written arguments supporting Partanen.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Boston

Download Our App
Download Weather App

Listen Live