In what's being billed as a benchmark Kansas legal victory, a non-biological lesbian mother has been granted the same parental rights as the biological mother of two children.
The Associated Press reports that Kelly Goudschaal limited her ex-partner Marci Frazier's visitations to their two children after the pair split. Meanwhile, Frazier sought to enforce a parenting agreement signed by both women when they were still together, which stated that Frazier's "relationship with the children should be protected and promoted,'' and that the pair had vowed "to jointly and equally share parental responsibility" when they were still together, according to the report.
Goudschaal had argued that she was the only person with the constitutionally protected status of parent, given that she had bore both children by artificial insemination, the Tokeka Capital-Journal points out.
Though a Kansas trial court had initially granted joint custody to the two women, Goudschaal appealed, arguing that Frazier had no right to seek custody since she was not a birth mother.
Among those to praise the decision was Cathy Sakimura, the Family Law Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
"The Kansas Supreme Court recognized that children with same-sex parents have the same need for stability and protection as children in any other family,” she said in a statement cited by the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. “We are grateful to the court for this thoughtful decision protecting the best interests of children in all families.”