A ruling by a court in Ontario has for the first time given the full legal status of parent to three people. It is believed to be the first time that a Canadian child has legally got three parents.

The case involved a lesbian couple, who used the sperm of a friend to have a baby. The biological father is actively involved in the raising of the child, and is legally the father of the boy, now five years old.

The biological mother’s lesbian partner chose not to adopt the boy as that would have negated the legal parental status of the biological father. Instead the lesbian partner brought a case against both biological parents, with their support.

The Ontario Supreme Court ruled that the lesbian partner is also legally a parent to the child, overturning a ruling by a lower court that denied the lesbian partner parental status not to give the female partner legal status as the child’s mother.

Yesterday’s ruling by the highest court in the Canadian province of Ontario will set a precedent.

“It’s very good news for her, for her son and for her family,” Peter Jervis, the partner’s lawyer, told The Toronto Star.

“She’s been the mom of this child since he was born, but this grants legal recognition to her status.”

Jervis said he was unable to reach the family over the phone, but he wrote an email with the subject line, “Congratulations, you’re a mom.”

Conservative and Christian groups criticised the court’s decision, which follows the defeat last month of a proposal by the newly-elected Conservative government to re-open the debate on gay marriage in Canada.