Lesbians certified as birth parents
By Matt Manochio, Daily Record, NJ, March
State judge’s ruling gives gay couple full rights
to unborn child
This week’s ruling by a Family Court judge in Sussex
County allowing a lesbian couple to be listed as parents
on the baby’s birth certificate is being both praised
and criticized as changing the definition of a family.
State officials said it was the first time that two women
who were both physically tied to an unborn child had tried
to make sure they were both listed on the birth certificate.
One woman is carrying the child and her partner provided
the egg, and they plan to raise the child together.
The ruling Tuesday by Superior Court Judge James A. Farber,
who presides in Newton, means that the unidentified women
will share a financial obligation to the child as soon as
it is born, and if one parent dies, the other immediately
will have custody.
“It paves the way for other people, other women
who are a couple in a similar situation,” said Melissa
Brisman, a Park Ridge lawyer specializing in reproductive
rights, who argued on behalf of the lesbian couple.
Brisman argued that New Jersey law states there are two
ways to prove parentage. One is to prove a woman is the
birth mother, and the other through DNA.
“In both cases they can prove they are the mother
and both are sharing that legal status,” Brisman said,
adding that similar rulings have been handed down in Colorado,
California and Massachusetts.
Brisman added that the ruling will “ensure that their
child will be taken care of.”
The women pursued in vitro fertilization after one of them
tried unsuccessfully to conceive with her own eggs and artificial
The court records in the case are sealed to protect the
identity of the women and their unborn child.
Farber’s ruling was well received by the Gay Activist
Alliance in Morris County, a support group that caters to
“I would say it is a significant ruling and that
it recognizes family,” said David Morris, the group’s
director of public policy. “Our definition of family
has changed over the years.”
Louis Giovino, director of communication for the Catholic
League for Religious and Civil Rights, which is headed by
William Donohue in New York, said the ruling undermines
the traditional meaning of what compromises a family.
“This is just another way to just get rid of the
family being a father and a mother and a child,” Giovino
said. “In a way it’s a form of child abuse.
It gets rid of the father. A child deserves a mother and
Morris refuted the claim that a mother and father are necessary
to rear a child.
“I think it is not nearly as important to have a
mother and father for a child, but to have parents who love
and support the child,” Morris said. “I don’t
think the gender of the parents is as important as the love
Associated Press reports contributed to this story.