Cases & Advocacy

McLaughlin v. McLaughlin

Status: Closed

Outcome: Victory

Location: Arizona

Suzan McLaughlin and Kimberly McLaughlin were a married lesbian couple who had a child using artificial insemination with an anonymous donor in 2011. The parties separated in 2013 and Kimberly stopped allowing Suzan to see their child.

Suzan filed the original action to be recognized as a parent in 2013. In April 2016, the trial court ruled that Suzan is a legal parent under Arizona law. On October 11, 2016 the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s opinion and found that Suzan is a legal parent of her child. On September 19, 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Suzan is a legal parent, explaining that: “It would be inconsistent with Obergefell to conclude that same-sex couples can legally marry but states can then deny them the same benefits of marriage afforded opposite-sex couples.”

On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Kimberley’s Petition for Certiorari, allowing the Arizona Supreme Court decision to stand.

NCLR represents Suzan, along with Arizona attorney Claudia Work. Professor Barbara Atwood and the Child and Family Law Clinic at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, as well as 23 Arizona family law attorneys and the ACLU and ACLU of Arizona, filed amicus briefs in support of Suzan.