Oklahoma judge transfers parental rights of lesbian woman to sperm donor

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An Oklahoma County judge ruled Monday to transfer a lesbian woman’s parental rights to the child’s sperm donor, May 19 reports. Kris Williams and Rebekah Wilson married in 2019 while Wilson was pregnant through a sperm donor. The couple raised the child, named W, together for two years. But after their split in 2021, Wilson took the young child and moved in with her sperm donor, Harlan Vaughan.

Wilson then alleged Williams had been abusive and received a protection order from Williams as part of divorce proceedings, which were extended last summer. Williams has denied Wilson’s allegations.

Shortly after their split, Wilson argued in court that Williams was not W’s mother. Oklahoma Judge Lynne McGuire agreed and removed Wilson from the child’s birth certificate. This is despite the fact that in most states, when children are born to a married couple, they are both legally putative parents of that child—at least, that has always been the case for heterosexual couples.

Last summer, McGuire reinstated Williams on W’s birth certificate, and Williams’ name stays on it. But on Monday, McGuire ruled on Williams’ parental rights issue and transferred it to Vaughan.

McGuire explained that because the Oklahoma parenting statute prior to the Supreme Court ruling establishing a right to same-sex marriage, the state parenting statute “does not recognize same-sex marriage, and there is no presumption that the mother’s wife is automatically presumed to be the.” Parent of a child born during the marriage.” Additionally, McGuire noted that Williams had failed to adopt W, although “[knowing] that under Oklahoma law she was required to adopt the minor child in order to establish parental rights,” and therefore forfeited her parental rights over the sperm donor.

Williams’ attorney, Robyn Hopkins, told Jezebel in a phone call that they would appeal the decision. She relied on the Supreme Court ruling Pavan vs. Smith in 2015 – concurrently with Obergefell v. Hodges—what says that it is unconstitutional to treat same-sex couples differently than heterosexual couples in determining parentage. Hopkins further linked McGuire’s decision to broader attacks on LGBTQ rights, particularly in Oklahoma. “If you live in Oklahoma or other conservative states, this is a full onslaught on our community right now, especially lately all anti-trans bills,” she said. “Our entire community out here in Oklahoma is being hit very hard right now.”

In an interview with local broadcaster KFOR, Hopkins asked “where the case law says gays have to adopt their own children.” She added, “Why do gay people have to home study and do a background check to adopt their own children and pay up a few thousand dollars and go to court to make it official?”

Speaking to the 19th, Williams also questioned why “we have to adopt our own kids,” arguing, “If I were a man, no one could come back and question whether that kid was mine or not, after you’re 2 years old.” .” She told KFOR that McGuire’s decision “evokes a lot of anger and emotion in me.”

The ruling is expected to have sharp repercussions on the already thorny issue of parental rights for LGBTQ couples. Same-sex couples were ruled by the Supreme Court in 2015 pavan, as well as heterosexual couples, should be parents of children born during their marriage. Despite this Supreme Court ruling of 19 Remarks that laws in this regard still vary from state to state.

But Hopkins argues the case is — or should be — “black and white.”

“Kris [Williams] it says on that child’s birth certificate and they were married,” she told KFOR. She continued: “They were married. Marriage is legal. Same-sex marriage is legal in the state of Oklahoma. And they had a child. So there is a child from the marriage.”

In the 1990s, a lesbian couple, Sandra Russo and Robin Young, were forced to fight their sperm donor, a gay man named Tom Steel, in court after he searched and was finally awarded parental rights over their child. Since the case took place back in the ’90s, Russo and Young were not married. To this day, her case sends a chilling message about the lack of rights and legitimacy afforded to same-sex couples and families. “I feel like this is our community’s cry for help and we need all hands on deck,” Hopkins told Jezebel. “I compare it to a natural disaster.”

https://jezebel.com/oklahoma-judge-transfers-lesbian-woman-s-parental-right-1850117787 Oklahoma judge transfers parental rights of lesbian woman to sperm donor

Adam Bradshaw

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