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Washington DC gives parental rights to lesbian couples

Ramsey DeHani July 23, 2009
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A law which gives lesbian parents in DC more rights has come into effect.

The legislation, which was enacted on Saturday, gives lesbians the right to become the legal parent of a partner’s artificially-inseminated child without having to adopt.

It means that partners will be legally recognised as a parent on the birth certificate, although both must give their consent at the time of insemination.

Previously the non-birthing partner in the couple would have to go through a complicated adoption process in order to obtain legal rights to the child.

The new law will now mean that the “name of a consenting spouse or unmarried partner will appear on the child’s birth certificate” making them a legal parent.

Nancy Polikoff, a law professor at the American University who helped to draft the bill, said: “A mother should not have to adopt her own child.”

“When a heterosexual married couple uses artificial insemination to have a child, the husband does not have to adopt the child born to his wife,” continued Polikoff. “Now the child of a lesbian couple will have the same economic and emotional security accorded the children of heterosexual married couples who use artificial insemination”.

A separate provision establishes that when a woman in a registered domestic partnership has a child, her partner is the presumed parent of the child and the partner’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate.

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