Mississippi Supreme Court to decide if boy’s legal ‘biological’ parents are two lesbians
JACKSON, Mississippi, December 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments last week about whether a boy born to a lesbian couple should be legally considered the biological son of his mother's female partner.
Because of the nature of the child’s conception and the relationship of the adults in his life, the story is complicated.
The two women who were “married” chose to have a child that would be conceived in one of them via anonymous sperm donation.
The boy is now six years old. His mother’s “ex-spouse,” who helped raise the child from birth, sought to be recognized as a biological parent when the two women divorced.
“Kimberly Strickland Day, was impregnated through assisted reproduction technology whereby donor sperm was combined with her harvested egg and the embryo surgically implanted,” reports the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “The couple separated in 2013, and their divorce was finalized last year. A Mississippi court granted the first same-sex divorce in 2015.”
Christina ‘Chris’ Strickland, the ex-"spouse" with no biological ties to the child, wants to be listed as the legal parent of 6-year-old Zayden Strickland in order to share equal custody with Day, the biological parent.
The original lower court case revolved around Strickland’s request to not only be recognized as the boy’s parent, but to have his birth certificate altered to include her name as a “mother.”
After the child’s birth, neither Strickland nor Day took legal action to have the sperm donor's rights terminated. If those rights had been terminated, Strickland could have filed the paperwork to become the child’s adoptive parent. It seems that Strickland was satisfied during the tenure of the “marriage” to be viewed as a presumptive parent, with no actual legal parental rights secured.
The judge gave Day legal and physical custody of both children, while Strickland has only visitation rights.
Judge John Grant, who presided over that case, denied Christina Strickland’s request to be recognized as a parent of the child.
His ruling was unambiguous: “The court finds two women cannot conceive a child together.”
“The court doesn’t find its opinion to be a discriminatory statement, but a biological fact,” continued Judge Grant. “The natural father may never come into court. He may never be known and probably won’t be, but he is still a father; and that is a right that our Supreme Court has recognized for many, many years.”
Strickland has now appealed Grant’s decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
“This case is not an equal protection case or a presumption of marriage case. It is an assisted reproduction case,” said Day's attorney, Prentiss Grant. “The main question here is simple: whether a couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, who conceives and has a child through assisted reproduction technology using donor sperm, donor egg, or a surrogate mother should be required to follow existing law and terminate the parental rights of the donor or surrogate. The answer is a resounding yes.”
Tyler O’Neil of PJ Media commented that a case such as this in an attempt by LGBT groups to redefine the “meaning of parenthood.”
“In attempting to change this law, LGBT groups are redefining the meaning of parenthood itself, rejecting a vision tied to the biological reality that children are conceived by a father's sperm and a mother's egg,” wrote O’Neil.
O’Neil asserts that the national LGBT rights group, Lambda Legal, which is providing legal counsel for Strickland, “attempted to hide this by reframing the argument.”
“The court ruled that Chris was not a legal parent to the child born during her marriage because the anonymous sperm donor's rights as a father supersede Chris' rights as his second parent,” O’Neil wrote.
“This statement captured the change in a nutshell: Lambda Legal wants Mississippi to strike down the gendered terms ‘mother’ and ‘father,’ replacing them with the idea of rights given to a ‘second parent,’” continued O’Neil. “This is a logical extension of removing the gender of two people in the same-sex marriage debate, but while many people are attracted to members of the same sex, no children are naturally conceived by a woman and a woman.”
LGBT groups want the state’s highest court to deny the validity of the lower court’s finding, that “two women cannot conceive a child together,” and that this is not “a discriminatory statement, but a biological fact.”
As Strickland, Day and their attorneys wait for the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Decision, the definition of parenthood hangs in the balance.
SCOTUS’s 2015 Obergefell decision made redefining parenthood possible
This Mississippi case is just one example of cases popping up on court dockets around the country, forcing jurists to plow new ground due to newly created hybrid legal personal relationships based on same-sex marriage and other newly-found gender identity “rights.”
In June, the United States Supreme Court ruled that “spouses” of the same gender should be allowed to appear on children’s birth certificates.
The court’s decision was predicated on the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex “marriage” across the country.
Because same-sex “marriage” is now the law of the land, the court reasoned that states must “provide same-sex couples ‘the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.’” In particular, since the Obergefell ruling specifically identified birth and death certificates as two of those rights, states can no longer deny same-sex couples any rights related to birth certificates that are granted to opposite-sex couples.