FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 8, 2005
NCLR Files Reply Brief in Lesbian Child Support Case Children Born to Same-Sex Couples Must Be Provided With the Same Rights and Protections as Other Children
(San Francisco, CA, February 8, 2005) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a reply brief with the California Supreme Court arguing that the Court must ensure that children born to same-sex couples have the same right to financial support from both parents as all other children. NCLR represents Emily B., who is seeking child support from her former partner, Elisa B., for the twin children that she and Elisa conceived and raised together prior to their separation.
This is one of three cases involving children born to lesbian parents currently pending before the California Supreme Court. All three pose the question of whether both partners in a same-sex couple who use artificial insemination to have children together are legal parents, as they would be if the partners were married or in an unmarried heterosexual relationship.
After Elisa and Emily decided to have children together through artificial insemination, Emily gave birth to the twins in 1998. One of the children - Ry -- was born with Downs Syndrome and requires twenty-four hour medical care. After the children were born, Elisa supported the family financially, and Emily stayed home to care for children. The couple separated when the twins were about two years old. Elisa visited with the twins and continued to provide some financial support for a period of time; eventually, however, she cut off all contact with Emily and the twins and stopped paying any support. Because of Ry's medical needs, Emily was forced to apply for assistance from El Dorado County, which then filed an action against Elisa seeking child support.
"California law is clear that all children must be protected, regardless of the sexual orientation or marital status of their parents," said Courtney Joslin, Senior Staff Attorney for NCLR. "These children have the same needs as all other children for the support from both of the people who caused them to be brought into the world."
Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the County of El Dorado also filed briefs arguing that Elisa must be held responsible for the two children she brought into the world and co-parented.
The other two cases being considered by the California Supreme Court are Kristine H. v. Lisa R. and K.M. v. E.G. NCLR filed amicus briefs in both cases at the Court of Appeal level, and will be filing amicus briefs with the California Supreme Court.
Oral argument in the three cases is expected to occur in the spring of 2005. Legal briefs and other information about this case are available at www.nclrights.org
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.