Maryland court rules no visitation rights to same-sex partner’s child

Maryland court rules no visitation rights to same-sex partner’s child

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Wednesday published a ruling [opinion, PDF] holding that a lesbian woman has no visitation or custody rights to a boy given birth by her partner before they were married. Writing for the court, Judge Robert A. Zarnoch [official profile] said that Maryland law did not specifically address children born to unwed same-sex couples. He said that therefore the woman, now divorced from the child’s biological mother, is not recognized as a second parent with rights to see the boy.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] issues concerning children, particularly adoption disputes, have remained controversial issues throughout the world the past few years. In August Mississippi civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the policy of the Mississippi Department of Human Services [official website] that bans adoption by married same-sex couples. In June the governor of Michigan signed a law [JURIST report] that allows private adoption agencies to deny placements with same-sex couples for religious reasons. In May the Supreme Court of the US Virgin Islands ruled [JURIST report] that second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples are permitted under Virgin Islands law. In April the Florida Senate voted to repeal [JURIST report] the state’s ban on same-sex adoption.