Kansas state supreme court made a landmark ruling that same-sex couples are to be allowed to adopt.
In addition it ruled that when a same-sex couple has a child together, both parents can be fully recognized as parents under Kansas state law.
The court explained that Kansas parentage laws apply equally to women and non-biological parents, and that courts must consider the reality of who a child’s parents are in order to protect the interests of children.
With this ruling, Kansas joins a number of other US states in ruling that when two people bring a child into the world and then raise that child as co-parents, the law should treat both of them as the child’s parents, regardless of gender or biology.
The ruling was delivered on Friday (22 February) over a case of two women, Marci Frazier and Kelly Goudschaal, who had been raising children together, but then faced a custody dispute after they separated.
The court ruled that the coparenting contract the couple had signed is valid and should be recognized, as their children are better off having two parents than just one:
‘To summarize, the coparenting agreement before us cannot be construed as a prohibited sale of the children because the biological mother retains her parental duties and responsibilities.
‘The agreement is not injurious to the public because it provides the children with the resources of two persons, rather than leaving them as the fatherless children of an artificially inseminated mother. No societal interest has been harmed; no mischief has been done.
‘Like the contract in Shirk, the coparenting agreement here contains “no element of immorality or illegality and did not violate public policy,” but rather “the contract was for the advantage and welfare of the child[ren]’.
LGBT rights organizations welcomed the ruling across the state.
‘Today, the Kansas Supreme Court recognized that children with same-sex parents have the same need for stability and protection as children in any other family. We are grateful to the court for this thoughtful decision protecting the best interests of children in all families’, said Cathy Sakimura, National Center for Lesbian Rights family law director.
‘Today’s decision is important and ground breaking’, said Doug Bonney, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.
‘The court rightly found that the co-parenting agreement was not only legal, but that it served the best interest of the children’.