Maryland is one of 19 states that has legalized gay marriage. This number continues to grow, but since most states don’t recognize same-sex marriage, there are no clear-cut laws when it comes to granting child custody when such a couple splits up. A lot of progress still needs to be made in regards to gay and lesbian rights, and unfortunately this affects the children involved in these disputes. For instance, a recent report noted that a lesbian couple is involved in a child custody dispute after splitting up.
In this case the baby was born to the couple through assisted reproduction. However, before the baby was born the couple split. One of the women gave birth to the baby and stopped speaking with the other woman. The other woman now wants legal custody of the child.
There are some legal issues involved here. Not only was their marriage not recognized under state law – since Colorado, the state where they live, does not recognize gay marriage – but gays and lesbians are not considered family units. When traditional couples have a baby together, the father has rights. However, in this case neither woman can be considered to be the father, and only one can be the mother.
With these types of cases still relatively new to the legal system, courts are having a difficult time making fair decisions. As with any child custody case, it’s important to think about the best interests of the child. Therefore, if both partners are willing to stay involved in the daily care of the child, then it’s not fair to prevent either one from doing so, regardless of who is considered the biological parent. Both women should be given equal rights considering the situation.
Source: KOAA, “Child custody laws unclear with same-sex couples,” Eric Ross, July 30, 2014