National Center for Lesbian Rights

Cases & Advocacy

Turner v. Steiner (Oakley)

Status: Closed

Outcome: Victory

Location: Arizona

Heather Turner and Liza Oakley were a married same-sex couple who had a child using assisted reproduction. Heather gave birth to the child and both parents were listed on the birth certificate. Heather and Liza raised the baby together, with Liza staying as the primary caregiver until they broke up the following year.

In their divorce, Heather argued that Liza was not a parent, but the Arizona trial court recognized both parents. Heather sought a review of that decision, and the Arizona Court of Appeals initially reversed, holding that only Heather was a parent.

After the decision in McLaughlin v. Jones, the Court of Appeals reversed its decision and upheld the finding that both Liza and Heather are parents of their child. NCLR represented Liza on appeal, along with Claudia Work of Campbell Law Group, Chartered. The Child and Family Law Clinic at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law filed an amicus brief in support of Liza.

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