Michigan Supreme Court rejects appeal by lesbians cut off from ex-partners’ kids
The Supreme Court in the US state of Michigan has rejected appeals from two lesbians who asked to be given time with children born to their ex-partners.
Two separate cases were rejected by the state’s highest court. Brought by Rola Kolailat and Deanna Mabry, both cases argued that because same-sex marriage was legalised in June 2015 they should retroactively be granted parental rights to the children.
The court ruled that because the children in both cases were not born into a marriage and that the women are not the biological parents to the children, they should not have parental rights.
Voting 5-2, the Supreme Court said it would not take appeals.
Mabry has been denied access to three children born to her partner between 2001 and 2008 during a 15-year relationship. The children had taken Mabry’s surname.
Kolailat was in a relationship for nine years, and said she was cut off from one child born to her female partner during that period.
Justice Bridget McCormack wrote that the case deserved the attention of the Supreme Court.
“As with all child custody disputes, the child’s best interests are paramount, and trial courts regularly engage in fact-finding to determine how those interests should be served,” said McCormack,.
“I believe Michigan’s trial courts are capable of evaluating the parties’ relationship to determine whether the parties would have married but for Michigan’s unconstitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage,” McCormack added.
She was joined in her dissent by Justice Richard Bernstein, and she predicted that only a very small number of similar custody cases would be heard.