Saturday, January 16, 2010

Local court hears lesbian paternity dispute

I previously blogged about a weird case in the local court that I watched while waiting for my case to come up. I could not figure out why two lesbians were getting a trial to resolve a paternity dispute. Now the case has gotten a newspaper story, and the mom has an angry mom site. The story says:
In a case that could have far-reaching implications for gay rights, a Santa Cruz woman is seeking to maintain joint custody of 10-month-old twins that she and her former partner, the biological mother of the children, had agreed to raise.

As court battles over the rights of non-biological gay parents garner national attention, the Santa Cruz case contains a complicated wrinkle: The biological mother is now involved in a romantic relationship with the sperm donor, who has joined her in seeking full custody of the boys.

"It's the first case I'm aware of where a lesbian couple in a committed relationship has brought a child into the world, then after breaking up, the biological mother has tried to sub in the biological father," said Deborah Wald, a family law attorney who, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, represents the non-biological mother.

"If they won, we would consider it a very dangerous precedent for lesbian couples having children with the assistance of known sperm donors," Wald said.

The biological parents, Maggie Quale and Shawn Wallace, who now live together, say they should be allowed to fully parent their twins, Max and Levi, without a court order allowing even partial custody to Quale's former partner, Kim T. Smith. They say the civil lawsuit filed by Smith, who declined to comment, has put them in the painful position of asserting their rights while still appearing to support the growing effort to protect the rights of gay parents.

"The last thing we want is more stress and conflict," said Quale, a 33-year-old public relations specialist, who is bisexual. "We know there are a lot of people who aren't going to understand. Shouldn't this only be about what best for these babies?"
I am afraid that Quale is about to get a painful education about how the court determines what is "best".

No, a lesbian couple did not bring this child into the world.

I still don't see how Smith got her name on the birth certificate, when he is not biologically related to the twins, was not married to the mom, was not a domestic partner to the mom, and did not adopt the twins. It must be a consequence of some liberal change to the law that I never heard about.

The family court is not equipped to deal with disputes like this. It is just crazy to expect some judge to decide what is in the best interest of the kids. There is a reason why we have marriage and adoption laws. There used to be, anyway.


Anonymous said...

can you imagine if JJJ were hearing this case? It's bad enough Salazar will be ajudicating. This is going to be a circus.

George said...

Yes, I may sit in on the trial just to watch the circus. Judge Salazar will actually have to make a decision, with the press watching.

Bob said...

Kim, the non-biological ex-partner was the one who broke off from Quale and immediately filed for full custody of these twins. Quale has no choice but to appear in court to fight for her own twins.