Friday, December 11, 2009

Oregon Supreme Court lets stand ruling that child of lesbian couple has two mothers from birth

Last July I wrote extensively about an Oregon appeals court decision declaring that a woman who consents to her partner's insemination is also a parent of the resulting child. The court reached its conclusion by reasoning that the law makes that provision for the husband of a woman who conceives through donor insemination and so it is unconstitutional (under the state constitution) to exclude a same-sex partner from that status.

The biological mother asked the Oregon Supreme Court to review the appeals court's ruling, and Wednesday that court declined to do so. The denial of review came in a standard order with no comment, as is customary.

This order means that the appeals court ruling stands as the law of Oregon. All lesbian couples who have a child using donor insemination are now both the legal parents of the child. As we say about the DC law on the subject, however, the nonbiological mother should get a court order - of parentage or adoption - because other states may disregard another state's statute that they disagree with but must respect the court orders of other states.

Congratulations to Portland attorney Mark Johnson on this important win. Now the non-bio mom, Sondra Shineovich, returns to the trial court to argue for custody/visitation of her two children.


Mama1Mama2 said...

I live in Oregon and will shortly be giving birth via donor insemination so this news in music to our ears. I know that it best that we still go through a second parent adoption for my partner but was wondering if this ruling would make it easier for us now to do this with our an adoption attorney and just going through the courts. Of course, we are trying to find the most economical way to do this but also the smartest way, as well. Thanks for your input!

Mama1Mama2 said...

Without* not with our

Nancy Polikoff said...

Congratulations! The first thing you want is a birth certificate with both your names on it. Since this ruling is brand new, however, this is unlikely to happen without a lawyer advocating for you. Then you should talk to the attorney about whether to obtain an order of parentage rather than an adoption. My post has the link to Mark Johnson, the attorney in this case, and he will be up to date on all the issues. If you live in a different part of the state he may have someone he recommends. Another great source of information is the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco. They also have a network of lawyers they recommend. Good luck!

Mama1Mama2 said...

Thanks! I know we will be issued with a birth certificate with both of our names on it because we are Registered Domestic Partners and we have already talked to the Birth Center about it. I will send an email over his way, as well. We do have an attorney that we worked with because we used a known donor, just trying to hopefully save some money and not have to go through an attorney for the adoption. Thanks again for replying so quickly!