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Judge Strips Lesbian Mom Of Parental Rights, Awards Them To Sperm Donor

Judge Strips Lesbian Mom Of Parental Rights, Awards Them To Sperm Donor

Two women, one of them pregnant holding a sonogram image next to a graphic of sperm cells.

An Oklahoma judge ruled the woman's parental rights were forfeited because she failed to adopt him.

People who doubt the necessity for laws to protect LGBTQ+ rights need only look as far as Oklahoma, where a judge stripped a lesbian mother of her parental rights and transferred them to her child’s sperm donor, testing the boundaries of marriage equality in the state.

According to Oklahoma County District Judge Lynne McGuire, Kris Williams forfeited her parental rights to her son’s sperm donor because she had failed to adopt him, The 19threports.

Williams claims she and her ex-partner Rebekah Wilson were planning to have a child and discovered Harlan Vaughn, a sperm donor, on a paternity website. After Wilson became pregnant, she and Williams married.

In 2019, Williams and Wilson were listed as the boy’s mothers after he was born. The couple raised their son together for two years but separated in 2021 in a contentious and bitter divorce. That November, Wilson obtained a Victim Protective Order against Williams and moved in with Vaughn with the boy, identified as W.

Wilson claimed that Williams wasn’t the child’s mother. Wilson and Vaughn jointly petitioned the court for custody of W.

Last May, McGuire agreed with Wilson’s argument and ruled to have Williams removed from her son’s birth certificate. However, the judge reversed her ruling the following month.

According to Wilson, Williams had been verbally abusive, and therefore Wilson has been trying to block her from seeing their son due to concerns about his safety. Wiliams denies all abuse allegations.

The Williams case alarms LGBTQ+ advocates because most people assumed that same-sex couples who were married to each other and had children together were presumed to be parents. In most states, regardless of whether a donor is used, both parties in a marriage are considered parents. However, this varies from state to state, and before Monday, Oklahoma had no definitive case law on the issue.

In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Pavan v. Smith that LGBTQ+ couples must be granted parental rights the same way as heterosexual couples.

According to Williams and her attorney Robyn Hopkins, there isn’t enough precedent for the judge to uphold the ruling based on this complicated situation, KFOR, Oklahoma City’s NBC station, reports.

So they are appealing to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

“It’s the first kind of case with these facts,” Hopkins told the station. “One thing I can say is Kris is on the birth certificate of this child, and they were married.”

The lawyer expressed her dissatisfaction with the ruling and explained why it didn’t make sense.

“I mean, to me, it’s logical. It’s black and white. But again, we don’t have case law in Oklahoma to support that. They were married. Marriage is legal. Same-sex marriage is legal in the state of Oklahoma. And they had a child. So, there’s a child of the marriage,” she said.

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