Parenthood Redefined by New York Court in Landmark Win for Gay Rights

The issue of gay parenting is becoming more and more prevalent, as we push for LGBT equality in all areas, not just in marriage.

Now, New York’s highest court has given LGBT rights a landmark win by redefining and expanding their definition of a parent. This decision by the New York State court of Appeals overturns the 1991 Alison D v Virginia M decision.

This ruling, now very out of date at 25 years old, meant that the State only recognised biological parents or people related by adoption. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the decision to overturn Alison D v Virginia M is in order to give more protections to LGBT families.

judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who was backed by four other judges, called the previous ruling “needlessly narrow” and “unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familiar relationships”.

Naturally, this move by the New York courts has also been met with praise from LGBT activists.

Susan Sommer, a gay rights lawyer at Lambda Legal, said: “Finally, New York is bringing its law in line with the reality of thousands of children who need protection for their relationships. No longer is there some harsh, absolute bar.”

Interestingly, this also means changes for heterosexual couples as well. An ex-partner can now petition for visitation or custody of a child created through IVF or similar means, if they can show that they intend to co-parent the child.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam said: “Where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody under Domestic Relations Law.”

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