For Immediate Release

May 28, 2024


Amanda Johnston, GLAD | ajohnston@glad.org | 617-417-7769

Malkia Hutchinson, NCLR | MHutchinson@nclrights.org | 202-734-3548

LGBTQ Legal, Advocacy Groups Urge Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Affirm Lesbian Mother’s Parental Status

Brief filed in Glover v. Junior encourages use of a legal standard that will provide secure parental relationships for all children born through assisted reproduction.

Organizations advocating on behalf of LGBTQ+ families and their children have filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to issue a ruling protecting a lesbian mother’s parental status and affirming the recognition of legal parentage for children born through assisted reproduction.

The case, Glover v. Junior, concerns a married, non-genetic, non-gestational mother, Nicole Junior, who planned with her now former spouse to conceive and raise a child via assisted reproduction, with the clear intent that both would be the child’s parents. In a December 2023 en banc ruling overturning a prior panel decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court – citing evidence including that Junior and Glover had jointly signed agreements related to the assisted reproduction – found Junior had established legal parentage of her child and that the couple’s subsequent separation and divorce after conception did not change the fact that Junior is her child’s intended and actual parent. 

The LGBTQ+ organizations’ brief urges the state Supreme Court to affirm the Superior Court’s ruling securing Junior’s legal relationship to her child. It also argues that an intent-based parentage doctrine is the best legal standard to reflect contemporary family formation and protect the interests and stability of all children and families – including many LGBTQ+ families – formed through assisted reproduction.

The brief was filed May 24, 2024 by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Pennsylvania, Family Equality, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia Family Pride, and COLAGE. Attorneys Kimberly A. Havlin, Robert J. DeNault, and Stephen M Hogan-Mitchell of White & Case LLP were counsel on the brief.

“There is no question that Nicole Junior is a parent to her child, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should quickly affirm the Superior Court’s en banc ruling to ensure security and clarity for everyone in the family,” said Polly Crozier, Director of Family Advocacy at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. “Having a secure legal parent-child relationship is critical to a child’s wellbeing. Many hopeful parents across Pennsylvania – including many LGBTQ+ people – are building or seeking to build loving, stable families through assisted reproduction. Pennsylvania law, through the courts and the legislature, should reflect the reality of how contemporary families are formed and ensure that all children have access to the rights and protections that come from having their relationship to their parents recognized and secured. We’re grateful to be working alongside White & Case LLP and our many partner organizations to advocate for children and families across Pennsylvania.”

“This case presents a critical opportunity for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to clarify that children born through assisted reproduction deserve the same security and stability as other children,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director. “We are hopeful the Court will quickly affirm the decision below and ensure that families created through assisted reproduction have clear protections and that lower courts have clear guidance about how to apply the law to these families.”    

BKW Family Law LLC is counsel for Nicole Junior. Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller also submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).

This release and related brief are available at www.glad.org