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Lesbian couple
can list both their names on child's birth certificate

Lesbian couple
can list both their names on child's birth certificate

Kids_hands

A lesbian couple has won the right to have both their names listed on a birth certificate as the parents of a baby girl born to one of the women through artificial insemination. The decision guarantees both women full parental rights to the child. Kimberly Robinson and Jeanne LoCicero registered in New York as domestic partners in 2003 and got married in Canada during the summer of 2004. They bought a house together in Essex County and decided they wanted to have a child together. Robinson was impregnated using sperm from an anonymous donor, and their daughter, Vivian Ryan LoCicero, was born on April 30. "We're thrilled," LoCicero, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said Thursday. "We always felt like a family; now it's nice to know the court thinks we are one too." "We are relieved that we won't have the uncertainty and fear about whether our daughter would be protected if something happened to one of us," added Robinson. The ruling by superior court judge Patricia Medina Talbert in Newark on Wednesday eliminates the need for LoCicero to go through adoption proceedings in order to have the same parental rights as those of the birth mother. Ed Barocas, the ACLU's legal director for New Jersey, said the case dealt with the state's artificial insemination law, which protects a child's relationship to a nonbiological parent who consents to a spouse's artificial insemination. The statute was written with the case in mind of a man who consents to the artificial insemination of his wife with another man's sperm but should apply equally to same-sex partners, Barocas said. "It definitely provides protection to the child based on the equal protection laws--that this child should be no less protected than a child of a heterosexual union," he said. In considering the case, the judge noted the many steps the couple has gone through to demonstrate their commitment to one another as proof that they formed a stable union in the child's best interest. In addition to registering as domestic partners and getting married in Canada, the women bought a house near their families and friends, who would provide a support network, sought a sperm donor with physical characteristics approximating those of LoCicero so that the baby might look like her as well as Robinson, and gave the child LoCicero's surname. Because the question at issue was the relationship of LoCicero and the child, not LoCicero's relationship with Robinson, the court did not need to rule on whether their marriage in Canada is legally valid in New Jersey, Barocas said. "We do find ourselves in a time where the American family composed of mom, dad, and two children applies, in fact, to only 23.5% of the American population," the judge wrote in her decision. "LoCicero is not required, under law or in equity, to take upon her the legal obligation of parentage.... Her commitment, one could argue, is only to Robinson. Her voluntary effort to be recognized as a parent under the law with its attendant obligations and responsibilities evinces her desire, intention, and commitment to be a parent for Vivian Ryan." (AP)

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