A landmark ruling in Virginia Beach, USA, has confirmed a lesbian woman is a legally an equal parent to her child even though she is not biologically related to him.
Lauren Poole took her wife Karen to court on Friday in order to fight for parental rights over their son, who was born in 2014 after Karen was impregnated by a sperm donor.
The couple were legally married in Maryland in 2013, but separated after their son was born.
Lauren broke down in tears as Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge Steven Frucci ruled: ‘Of course she is a parent’.
Speaking to News Channel 3 following the announcement, she said: ‘It felt amazing … to finally hear what I already knew and what I already felt.’
Lauren will now have a say in custody arrangements, and will be allowed visitation rights after the end of this month, when a protective order taken out against her expires.
Lauren’s attorney, Barbara Fuller, explained the impact this ruling would have on custody laws.
‘All of the laws all across the country are going to need to change to reflect the new legal landscape with regard to same-sex marriage, specifically with regards to parenting,’ she said.
The couple are now waiting for official confirmation of their joint custody.