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New York court rules same-sex partner lacks parental rights

[JURIST] A New York state appeals court ruled [decision text] Thursday that a same-sex partner lacks standing to assert parental rights over the biological child of her partner unless she has adopted the child. The ruling limits parental rights under NY Domestic Relations Law § 70 [text] to biological or adoptive parents, following precedent set in the 1991 case of Allison D. v. Virginia M. [decision text]. The trial court had rejected that precedent and ordered a hearing to determine whether the plaintiff's relationship with the child was tantamount to that of a parent. Amicus curiae briefs in favor of the hearing were submitted by the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Social Workers' New York State Chapter, the National Association of Social Workers' New York City Chapter, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the New York Civil Liberties Union [advocacy websites].

Thursday's decision comes shortly after a New York court ruled that a same-sex surviving spouse was entitled to inheritance [JURIST report], an outgrowth of New York's 2008 legal recognition of all out-of-state same-sex marriages [JURIST report]. This mandate supported an intermediate appellate court ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that legal same-sex marriages performed outside the state are entitled to recognition in New York. In September, the a New York judge dismissed [decision and order; JURIST report] a challenge to the directive.

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