US lesbian moms to be listed jointly on birth certificate
Doug Windsor, 365Gay.com, March 13, 2003
TRENTON, NJ - In what is believed to be the first
case of its kind in America a New Jersey judge has ruled
that a lesbian couple can be listed as parents on the birth
certificate of the baby they're expecting in May. Both women
are physically tied to the unborn child. One partner is
carrying the baby, the other provided the egg. In delivering
his ruling Sussex County Family Court Judge James A. Farber
said that both women must share the obligations of raising
the baby. If one parent dies, the other will immediately
have custody. Neither woman in the case can be named.
The couple lives in northern New Jersey and has been together
for seven years. The woman providing the egg said that she
hoped the ruling would help other couples. She said that
she and her partner pursued in vitro fertilization after
her partner tried unsuccessfully to conceive with her own
eggs and artificial insemination. Because of the unique
nature of the case other judges in the state are not required
to follow Judge Farber's co-parenting ruling.
In most cases involving lesbian parents the woman who delivers
the baby is usually named as the mother on the birth certificate.
Her partner must then adopt the child because she is not
genetically related, and the court process can take six
months or longer. Nevertheless, Melissa Brisman, the couple's
lawyers, called the ruling a "victory for reproductive
rights." Gay rights advocates in the state also welcomed
the decision, saying it recognizes the expanding definition
of the family.