New Jersey court rules for lesbian moms

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 13 2003 1:00 AM ET

A lesbian couple in New Jersey will both be listed as parents on the birth certificate of the baby they're expecting in May, a judge has ruled. State officials said it is the first time that two women related to an unborn child have tried to get both their names listed on a birth certificate. One partner is carrying the child, and the other provided the egg; they plan to raise the child together. The ruling, issued Tuesday by Sussex County family court judge James A. Farber, means that the women, who prefer to remain unidentified, will share a financial obligation to the child as soon as it is born and that if one parent dies, the other will automatically have custody.

Analysts said the case is unusual because when lesbian couples have a child together, the woman who delivers the baby is usually listed as the mother on the birth certificate. Her partner must then adopt the child because she is not genetically related, and the court process for adoption can take six months or longer.

The woman who provided the egg in this case told The [Bergen County] Record that she hopes the ruling will help other couples. The women live in northern New Jersey and have been together for seven years; they said they pursued in vitro fertilization after one of them tried unsuccessfully to conceive with her own eggs and artificial insemination.

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