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Florida Court Makes Precedent-Setting Ruling in Lesbian Custody Case

Florida Court Makes Precedent-Setting Ruling in Lesbian Custody Case


A Daytona Beach, Fla., court has ruled that two women who cocreated a baby have equal parental rights under the law.

Not only did the baby, born in 2004, have a hybrid of both parents' last names; but both women were involved in its creation. One partner donated the egg to the other, who carried the baby to term. The sperm came from an anonymous donor who waived all rights.

Both women raised the child until she was 2 years old. After the couple ended their relationship, the woman who bore the child left the country with the little girl. The egg-donor mother tracked the two down in Australia, and both have since returned to Florida for the custody battle.

Since Florida law states that a woman who gives birth is legally the mother, a circuit judge first ruled in favor of the woman who bore the child, adding that it broke his heart having to do so. But last week a state appeals court in Daytona Beach overturned the decision. According to the Orlando Sentinel, "The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that the U.S. and Florida constitutions trump Florida law and gave parenting rights to both women. State law, it added, has not kept up with the times."

"This is a unique case, and the appellate courts in Florida have never before considered a case quite like it," the court said.

Nancy Polikoff, a law professor at American University Washington College of Law who specializes in LGBT family issues, says the decision is an important one.

"Any ruling that supports the right of a same-sex couple ... is important for its willingness to recognize that these families exist and a child raised in this environment shouldn't be forced to give up a parent," the Sentinel quotes her as saying.

Read the full story here.

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