The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child and ordered a lower court to work out custody, child support and visitation arrangements.The whole point of Rule of Law is to have written rules and predictable outcomes. This ruling is contrary to Rule of Law.
The case involves two women, identified only by their initials, who had a child together. One donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other, who gave birth in 2004.
But two years later the Brevard County couple split up, and the birth mother took the girl and left the country. The other woman, who identifies herself as the biological mother, used a private detective to find her former partner in Australia, and a custody fight ensued.
The birth mother tried to use a Florida law that prevents sperm or egg donors from claiming parental rights to children born to other couples. Her lawyer also cited a standard form donors are required to sign relinquishing parental rights. The court rejected both arguments, saying the law doesn’t apply in this case because the couple clearly planned to parent the child together.
I do not agree with the term "biological mother" to refer to the egg donor. A pregnancy is certainly a biological process, and the egg donor and birth mom can both claim to be the biological mother. I would say that neither is really the biological mother. Wikipedia says "Biological parents consist of the male who sired the child and the female who gave birth to the child."
The court wrote that the case didn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing decision” on which parent had rights to the child. ...No, that is not an anomaly. In one case, you have a real biological father and mother, along with parental rights that have been understood for centuries. In the other, there is no legal father, no biological mother, and no committed partnership.
A trial judge ruled for the birth mother and said the biological mother has no parental rights under state law, adding that he hoped his decision would be overturned.
The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach sided with the biological mother and said both women have parental rights.
“It would indeed be anomalous if, under Florida law, an unwed biological father would have more constitutionally protected rights to parent a child after a one night stand than an unwed biological mother who, with a committed partner and as part of a loving relationship, planned for the birth of a child and remains committed to supporting and raising her own daughter,” the court wrote.
More and more, courts are just throwing away the rules about child custody, and just deciding on their own how to micro-manage peoples' lives. We are not a free society when this happens.
Here is another judge, trying to cope with a so-called lesbian marriage:
The judge hearing the case was an older man—old enough, in fact, to be the grandfather of the couple’s children, and how those children came into the world seemed to transfix the judge’s mind to the point that it became a sticking-point in the proceeding. Befuddled by the formula the women had devised, hung up on the lengths to which they had gone to ensure their kids’ origins, fascinated and at the same time repelled by a situation utterly foreign to his experience, he simply could not get past what he persisted in calling the couple’s “lifestyle.”
His emphasis on this issue was irrelevant and wide of the mark, as both lawyers agreed, and the judge’s insistence on raising it was both time-consuming and offensive. It was Melissa who first hit the bursting-point, proposing to Jennifer that the two take their fate out of the hands of a guy who struck her as very much a caricature of the quirky judges on “The Good Wife.” He simply could not get his head around who they were as people and what they had at stake.
Melissa and Jennifer were not comfortable with this person making decisions that would affect their lives—lives he clearly did not understand. Instead, the couple agreed to go to mediation to settle the issue on their own. And that’s exactly what happened.
To me, this case seemed to exemplify the disconnect between outmoded perceptions and current reality when it comes to relationships and their dissolution. To oversimplify a bit: On one side was the generation the judge embodied, still clinging to the idea that “family” means father, mother, two kids, refrigerator, and split-level—a template that was never as pervasive as claimed but that served as a kind of Madison Avenue standard for many years.
On the other side was a family configuration that shattered that notion noisily, and then had the temerity to break up and seek resolution in the law, which, by the time the twenty-first century rolled around, in fact protected the new configuration.