Supreme Court Allows Lesbian Partner to Seek Parental Rights

In a victory for the parental rights of gay couples, the Supreme Court allowed a non-biological mother the right to seek custody of a child she raised with a lesbian partner. The Court declined to hear the case, without comment, leaving intact the ruling of the lower court. This decision does not end the custody battle; it merely affirms that Sue Ellen Carvin can petition for custody of the 11-year-old daughter she raised with Page Britain.

Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled on this case in November, and recognized a new familial category called a “de facto” parent, who would have legal standing equivalent to that of biological or adoptive parents. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case means that Carvin can now return to Washington to prove her status as a de facto parent. She released a brief statement saying she was thrilled that the Washington decision was allowed to stand.


Associated Press 5/15/06; Seattle Times 5/16/06

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