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Lesbian appeals Mississippi court decision that she is not legal parent

[JURIST] Christina Strickland, represented by Lambda Legal Counsel [advocacy website], filed an appeal [brief, PDF] on Thursday to the Mississippi Supreme Court [official website] to challenge a lower court's ruling that she is not a legal parent of her ex-wife's sons. The children were conceived with sperm from a donor while the couple was together [WP report], although their marriage was not recognized [press release] by Mississippi at that time. The lower court ruled [opinion] that parental rights go to the sperm donor. Although Strickland does not have parental rights, she is still responsible for providing child support payments and has visitation rights. Strickland is challenging on the grounds that the ruling "discriminated against a child based on the circumstances of his birth and contrary to his best interests and violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution by ignoring the familial relationship between Chris and her sons."

The rights of same-sex couples remains an ongoing issue after the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision. Last week the Texas senate sent [JURIST report] a bill to the governor that would allow publicly funded adoption agencies to refuse to place children with gay parents. In February a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] South Carolina to list both same-sex parents on a child's birth certificate. In December the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a law [JURIST report] that allows only the biological parents to be placed on the birth certificate, finding that equal protection was not violated by "acknowledging basic biological truths." In August New York's top court expanded [JURIST report] the definition of "parent" to better accommodate same-sex couples. In May 2016 the Alabama Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] its prior ruling refusing to recognize same-sex adoption from other states. A month before, a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi struck down [JURIST report] Mississippi's ban on adoption by same-sex partners.

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