[JURIST] Leading Monday's states brief, the California Supreme Court today extended child support laws and custody rights to estranged gay and lesbian couples who used reproductive science to conceive by ruling that same-sex couples who raise children are the lawful parents and must provide for the children after a break up. The legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights [advocacy website] said the rulings are the first in the nation to grant full parental status to both members of same-sex couples who participated in planning and rearing a child. The three separate rulings apply to couples who never registered as domestic partners. The three cases are Elisa B. vs. Superior Court [PDF text], Kristine H. vs. Lisa R. [PDF text], and K.M v. E.G. The San Francisco Chronicle has local coverage.
In other state legal news …
- The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled [text] Monday that a jury may decide whether a former state house candidate should be awarded damages in a libel lawsuit against the Augusta Chronicle [newspaper website] as there is sufficient evidence to submit the question of actual malice. Former Democratic candidate Tom Anderson filed a libel lawsuit against the newspaper after a 1997 editorial called him a liar. AP has more.
- Mississippi Representative Joey Fillingane, president of the Mississippi Legislative Conservative Coalition [advocacy website], says he will push a state bill aimed at "preserv[ing] a person's life" if there is a family disagreement about whether or not to end the life of a vegetative person. The measure is in response to the Terri Shiavo case [JURIST coverage] and Fillingane said, "And where you have a disagreement and you can't find an agreement on that issue, the state's position at the state court level that reaches there would be defaulting toward life." He noted that such a bill would not affect Mississippians with living wills or other documents expressing their wishes. AP has more.
- The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled [PDF text] that gas station store owners may be sued for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident if the store sold gas to an intoxicated driver. The ruling will allow a lawsuit filed by two men injured in a drunk driving accident against East Tennessee Pioneer Oil Company to proceed. The men alleged that the gas station employees knew the driver of the other car was intoxicated and that the car would not have reached the accident location of the driver was not allowed to purchase gas. AP has more.