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Mississippi Supreme Court to decide if lesbian parents can both be considered ‘biological’ parents

Mississippi Supreme Court to decide if lesbian parents can both be considered ‘biological’ parents

A small child in the park

The Mississippi Supreme Court has heard arguments for why a boy born to a lesbian couple should be considered the biological son of both parents now they’re divorced.

Mississippi is a a southern state in the US.

6-year-old Zayden Strickland was born to Kimberly Strickland Day and Christina Strickland when they were married.

Kimberly was impregnated through assisted reproduction technology. A sperm donor was used to fertilize one of Kimberly’s harvested eggs. Then the embryo was surgically implanted.

Christina helped raise Zayden from birth.

The couple separated in 2013. The court finalized their divorce last year.

Christina has no biological ties to Zayden but wants to be listed as a legal parent of him in order to share equal custody with Kimberly, the biological parent.

Neither of them took legal action after Zayden’s birth to have the sperm donor’s rights terminated.

Christina could have filed the paperwork to become the child’s adoptive parent if that had been done.

The original court case looked at Christina’s request to be recognized as the boy’s parent and to have his birth certificate altered to list her as a ‘mother.’

Upon their divorce, Kimberly was given legal and physical custody of Zayden while Christina was only given visitation rights.

Judge John Grant denied Christina’s request to be recognized as Zayden’s parent.

He said: ‘The court finds two women cannot conceive a child together.’

‘The court doesn’t find its opinion to be a discriminatory statement, but a biological fact,’ he continued.

‘The natural father may never come into court. He may never be known and probably won’t be, but he is still a father; and that is a right that our Supreme Court has recognized for many, many years.’

Christina appealed this decision so the case was taken to the Mississippi Supreme Court last week.

Equal rights

Prentiss Grant is Kimberly’s attorney.

He explained: ‘This case is not an equal protection case or a presumption of marriage case. It is an assisted reproduction case,

‘The main question here is simple: whether a couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, who conceives and has a child through assisted reproduction technology using donor sperm, donor egg, or a surrogate mother should be required to follow existing law and terminate the parental rights of the donor or surrogate.

‘The answer is a resounding yes.’

Tyler O’Neil of PJ Media said the case is an attempt by LGBT groups to redefine ‘meaning of parenthood.’

O’Neil said: ‘In attempting to change this law, LGBT groups are redefining the meaning of parenthood itself, rejecting a vision tied to the biological reality that children are conceived by a father’s sperm and a mother’s egg.’

Lambda Legal is providing legal counsel for Christina.

He said the firm has ‘attempted to hide this by reframing the argument.’

The United States Supreme Court ruled in June ‘spouses’ of the same gender should both be allowed to appear on a child’s birth certificate.

The court reasoned states must ‘provide same-sex couples “the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.”‘

This means states can no longer deny same-sex couples any rights related to birth certificates that are granted to opposite-sex couples.