Florida Appeals Court Rules That Both Lesbian Moms Have Parental Rights

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals has ruled that both women in a now-separated lesbian couple have parental rights to the child they raised together. This case challenges previous statutes defining a child’s “birth mother” only as the woman who gave birth, because one of the women donated her egg and the other carried it to term. In the decision, the judges overturned a lower court’s ruling and pointed out that it is in the child’s best interest not to lose either of her parents, juxtaposing the situation with the Biblical Judgment of Solomon:

Appellee suggests that because she and Appellant have separated, a choice must be made. She posits that, as the birth mother, she should have exclusive parental rights to the child and that Appellant, as the biological mother, should have no rights at all. If we were to accept Appellee’s argument that a choice must be made between the two, perhaps a Solomonic approach to resolving this dispute would be preferable, but we are neither possessed of the wisdom of Solomon nor are we able to apply his particular methodology under the law as we know it today.

Parental rights, which include the love and affection an individual has for his or her child, transcend the relationship between two consenting adults, and we see nothing in this record that makes either Appellant or Appellee an exception that places those rights in one to the exclusion of the other… Their separation does not dissolve the parental rights of either woman to the child, nor does it dissolve the love and affection either has for the child.

In the Biblical story, King Solomon solved a quarrel between two women claiming to be a child’s mother by threatening to cut him in half. The true mother was revealed when she was willing to let the other woman keep the baby to save its life. Obviously, such a story does not accommodate the modern day reality that two women really can both be a child’s mothers. The Florida Court’s decision affirms that same-sex families are no different than any other family and the rights of children to know both their parents — whatever their sex — is paramount.