Court Gives Parental Rights to Both Moms

Case challenges definition of “birth mother”

A Florida appeals court has ruled that both members of a now-separated lesbian couple deserve parental rights to their daughter, ThinkProgress reported Tuesday.

The decision questions statutes that typically award custody of children in separated couples to the birth mother, defined as the woman who gave birth to the child. In the Florida case, it wasn’t so simple: the biological mother’s eggs were extracted, inseminated with donor sperm, and then implanted in the birth mother’s uterus, a practice known as reciprocal in vitro fertilization.

Rather than go with judicial tradition, the judge in the case was impelled to consider the nature of parenthood rather than the value of biology.

“Parental rights, which include the love and affection an individual has for his or her child, transcend the relationship between two consenting adults,” the judge wrote. “Their separation does not dissolve the parental rights of either woman to the child, nor does it dissolve the love and affection either has for the child.”

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