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Same-sex couples rights affirmed when lesbian mom files paternity

Unfortunately, same-sex couples' rights are sadly lacking in many parts of the country. While in Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is allowed and seen positively, in other places many of the same-sex couples' rights are denied. Fortunately, in one state, clear progress can be seen when a lesbian mother has been allowed to file a paternity suit for her child in a groundbreaking case.

Two lesbians had decided to make a family in 2006 in which they would adopt two biological daughters. Because at that time their state didn't allow them to adopt the children as a lesbian couple, they each legally adopted a girl and raised the two together. However, in 2009, all of this changed. After the women decided to separate, one of the women moved to Norway, taking her legal daughter and leaving behind the girl's sister and her shocked ex, who had not expected this drastic move. The two sisters didn't even have the chance to say goodbye to one another.

After investigating the various legal options available to her, the woman in the United States, fought for child custody by filing a paternity suit. While paternity suits are typically filed by fathers seeking to spend time with their children, a state law had passed which allowed for non-biological fathers to seek custody. After discussing the case, a judge ruled that the paternity suit was valid since it would be discriminatory to allow non-biological fathers to sue but not non-biological mothers.

Massachusetts has traditionally been ahead of the curve as far as same-sex couples' rights are concerned. However, it is encouraging to see other states take the initiative as well and stand up for the rights of all couples and for the couples' children that they might have. As more states begin to realize the validity of these unions, it is hoped that marriage can be further defined and that children from any couple have their best interests preserved.

Source: ABC News, "Colorado Lesbian Mom Wendy Alfredsen Granted Paternity in Custody Battle," Colleen Curry, May 4, 2012

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