For the second time in one month, the Montana Supreme Court has recognized the realities of the lives of children of lesbian couples. I wrote about the first case here. Then this week the court ruled in the case of Filpula v. Ankney.
During the 12 year relationship of Linda Filpula and Dustine Ankney, Dustine bore three children. The couple raised the children together. When the couple split up and Dustine moved away with the children, Linda filed for shared custody and the court ordered a parenting plan that gave each mother equal time with the children. The trial court found that Linda and the children had child-parent relationships as a result of the joint decision of the two women.
Dustine appealed. She argued, among other things, that the court should not follow the ruling of a California court awarding parentage to a nonbio mom because California has domestic partnership and Montana does not. The Montana court rightly said that it was applying Montana law, not California law in ruling in Linda's favor. But the California case that Dustine argued was not decided on the basis of California's domestic partnership law, so Dustine even got that wrong.
The New York Court of Appeals hears a case this month that could spell the end of two decades of bad law for nonbio, nonadoptive lesbian moms and their children. That court could learn a thing or two from Montana. I hope it does.