The definition of "parent" has been expanded in New York State
August 31, 2016 8:20 AM   Subscribe

New York's highest court has redefined parenthood in a same-sex parenting case. (SLNYT) The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C. and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., that the non-married, ex-partner of a biological parent may seek custody or visitation rights of children they once agreed to conceive and raise as co-partners with their exes. The Court, in a 6-0 vote, said that given the legalization of same-sex marriages and other societal changes that have upset the notion of "parents" as being a married man and woman, it was time for it to abandon the precedent of its 1991 ruling in Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M.

Basing visitation and custody rights chiefly on the biological relationship between adult and child has led to a "needlessly narrow" interpretation of what a "parent" is, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam wrote for the court.

"Alison D.'s foundational premise of heterosexual parenting and nonrecognition of same-sex couples is unsustainable, particularly in light of the enactment of same-sex marriage in New York state, and the United States Supreme Court's holding in Obergefell v. Hodges," she wrote.

Link to the decision.
Link to the overruled 1991 decision, Alison D.
Obergefell v Hodges.
posted by holborne (27 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
About fucking time. Glad to see this happen.
posted by Fizz at 8:27 AM on August 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


So this is big news not only for non-hetero partners but also for hetero non-married parents as well, correct? Or were they already covered elsewhere?
posted by selfnoise at 8:33 AM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


So this is big news not only for non-hetero partners but also for hetero non-married parents as well, correct? Or were they already covered elsewhere?

The presumption has long been that the non-birthing participant in the conception of a child has some level of parental right (in the absence of circumstances to the contrary), yes.

As for adopted children, it varies.
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


One up for parenthood--any flavor!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:47 AM on August 31, 2016


Good!
posted by kafziel at 9:00 AM on August 31, 2016


The presumption has long been that the non-birthing participant in the conception of a child has some level of parental right

I'm more interested in the rights of non-married, non-biological parents. It's not uncommon for "Mom's boyfriend" to be a kid's de facto Dad throughout their childhood. I don't know that they have any legal standing today, but laws oriented to the benefit of the child should surely consider them.
posted by CaseyB at 9:01 AM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


About fucking time they looked at the issue from the child's point of view, not some abstract, white middle ruling class hetero bullshit.
posted by signal at 9:08 AM on August 31, 2016 [12 favorites]




This is wonderful, but from a practical standpoint, is there a reason why Brooke should not have adopted the child at or soon after birth?

Like, if they had decided they were going to raise the child together, why not establish legal guardianship, even if they weren't married?

Or was that not an option at the time, and is it still not an option?
posted by explosion at 9:34 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a parent in (a) NYC and (b) a poly household, I am super thrilled by this. Maybe someday all three of us will be legally recognized as parents!
posted by XtinaS at 9:44 AM on August 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


explosion, before marriage equality, many couples didn't know to do a second parent adoption, couldn't afford to, or simply trusted that it wouldn't be needed.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:52 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just wrote "parent" 5 minutes ago on an apartment app my 19 year old stepdaughter is filling out.

Because I raised her for the past 17 years, even though her bio-mom and I divorced last year.

I'm her parent damnit, and I won't let anyone take that distinction away from me without a fight.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:35 AM on August 31, 2016 [18 favorites]


About time.

Incidentally, I get so annoyed when I hear about people trying to exploit homophobic/heteronormative legislation to screw over their same-sex exes when the relationship goes sour.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 10:36 AM on August 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


Speaking as a parent in (a) NYC and (b) a poly household,

Polynesian?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:48 AM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Polygonal.
posted by delfin at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Polynomial! More than two algebraic terms, in this case raising a child together.

(Polyamory.)
posted by XtinaS at 10:52 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Polymorphic
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:53 AM on August 31, 2016


It's not uncommon for "Mom's boyfriend" to be a kid's de facto Dad throughout their childhood. I don't know that they have any legal standing today, but laws oriented to the benefit of the child should surely consider them.

And the decision here was that a person w/ a pre-conception agreement to co-parent will be a parent in the context of gaining standing to sue for visitation rights. The court expressly said that they may adopt other tests in future cases.
posted by jpe at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just so long as the definition never includes me I'm cool with whatever y'all workout.
posted by srboisvert at 12:02 PM on August 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


It was time for such a decision.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2016


From the title, was I supposed to half expect that it had been expanded to include corporations?

If so, bravo.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2016


Fantastic news!!!
posted by zarq at 6:57 PM on August 31, 2016


Basing visitation and custody rights chiefly on the biological relationship between adult and child has led to a "needlessly narrow" interpretation of what a "parent" is, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam wrote for the court.

Okay, agreed. Awesome. But...

You'd better make damn sure what you are basing parenthood on NOW, before that "foot in the door" gets exploited. Otherwise, you'll have some crackpot trying to be a co-parent with a case of Milwaukee's. Or, much worse, someone else - or some company - deciding that they're the co-parent of your child and suing you for custody. Let the real parents in, and then shut that legal door.
posted by mr_book at 4:23 AM on September 1, 2016


PRETTY SOON A HORSE WILL BE YOUR PARENT! OR EVEN WORSE @HORSE_EBOOKS
posted by symbioid at 10:23 AM on September 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sorry - it just... it reminds me of the ol' "If you don't make marriage a man/woman - pretty soon you'll have incest and bestiality rampant!"
posted by symbioid at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hadn't previously wanted to have children with @horse_ebooks, but now that the definition of parenting has expanded, IMMA DO IT RIGHT NOW LET'S GO
posted by XtinaS at 10:45 AM on September 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe someday all three of us will be legally recognized as parents!

It seems as though, since we now have evidence that there's genetic chimerism in humans, and because it's possible for fraternal twins to have different fathers, it may be possible for a person to have more than two biological parents? (I'm not a scientist of any sort, but it would make sense.)

If that's the case, hopefully that fact will at some point help reality to intrude on the justice system: that there can be more than two people who should be recognized as a child's legal parents.
posted by XMLicious at 1:10 AM on September 2, 2016


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