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Arizona Supreme Court says gay married couples should have equal parental rights

Joseph McCormick September 19, 2017
Baby grasping a grownup finger

The couple received a court summons over their daughter's name (mimagephotography)

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a lesbian divorcee should be afforded the same parental rights to her straight counterparts.

The court ruled that a lesbian woman who is getting a divorce from her wife is entitled to the parental rights as protected by the US Constitution.

Tuesday’s ruling comes despite the fact that Arizona state law doesn’t protect same-sex couples.

Tucson couple, Kimberly and Suzan McLaughlin had a baby through artificial insemination but later separated.

Baby kiss

Despite having a shared parental arrangement, Kimberly had sought different custody rights after they broke up.

And it said a precedent set by the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of same-sex marriage applies in the state.

The court went further to say that a number of state laws in Arizona should be rewirtten in order to avoid litigation from individual cases similar to this.

The women had used artificial insemination to get pregnant, but state law currently states that the man in a marriage is legally the father of any child born within 10 months of marrying.

The current laws don’t offer any protective rights to a same-sex parent in a married relationship where artificial insemination is used.

Rather than throwing out the law entirely, the court’s ruling effectively extends it to women in other similar circumstances.

Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales wrote in his opinion, referring to the US Supreme Court ruling from 2015: “It would be inconsistent with Obergefell to conclude that same-sex couples can legally marry but states can then deny them the same benefits of marriage afforded opposite-sex couples.”

This is one of a number of similar cases making their way through state courts since the 2015 ruling on issues like parenting.

Laws and regulations differ greatly across all 50 steates.

“I am relieved and overjoyed that the court recognized me as my son’s mother,” Suzan McLaughlin said in a statement provided by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“All I have ever wanted is to be there for him like any mother would.”

The Center had taken her case through to the state Supreme Court.

More: Arizona, obergefell, Parenting, supreme court, US

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