Massachusetts top court extends parental rights to unmarried same-sex partner News
Massachusetts top court extends parental rights to unmarried same-sex partner

[JURIST] The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that same-sex couples that never marry are entitled to the same parental rights as heterosexual couples. This decision arose out of a suit seeking parental rights filed by Karen Partanen, former partner of Julie Gallagher, who was impregnated by artificial insemination. The couple ended their relationship when their children were one and five years old, respectively. The court held that because Partanen was intimately involved in raising the children, she should have the same rights as any person would as a member of a heterosexual relationship.

The rights of same-sex couples, and same-sex parents in particular, have been particularly contentious of late. Earlier this month, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore was removed from the bench [JURIST report] for issuing an order preventing magistrate judges of that state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in direct contravention of a federal order requiring same. In September the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed [JURIST report] a lower court’s dismissal of a claim by two former magistrates that their rights were violated by 2014 guidance memos from the Administrative Office of the Courts that said they could be fired if they refused to perform same-sex marriages. Earlier that month, tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico [JURIST report] to protest a same-sex marriage recognition proposal. In August, the Belize Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a law banning sodomy, declaring it unconstitutional and adversely impactful to the LGBT community.