D.C. Law Gives Lesbian Partners Same Rights as Birth Mothers of Artificially Conceived Children
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The District of Columbia has just crossed another stepping stone toward the full legalization of same-sex “marriage” through a new “Heather Has Two Mommies” law that went into effect last Saturday. The law recognizes both the lesbian partner and the birth mother of children conceived through artificial insemination as the legal parents, nullifying provisions of the district’s code requiring the lesbian partner to apply for adoption.
The new provisions of the law radically redefine requirements for parenthood through an amendment to the Vital Records Act, which gives “domestic partners” the same parental rights for artificially conceived children as the natural mother, upon signing a “consent to parent.”
“If the mother was in a domestic partnership at the time of either conception or birth, or between conception and birth, the name of the domestic partner of the mother shall be entered on the [birth] certificate as a parent of the child,” states the new law.
The law amends the D.C. legal code to allow the D.C. Superior Court to waive adoption procedures even if the consenting partner does not live with the mother either in a marriage or a legally recognized domestic partnership. The previous legal construction designed by lawmakers had intended to give full paternal rights to husbands of wives who had given birth to a child conceived through artificial insemination. That law exempted husbands from going through an extensive adoption process, because the legal setting of marriage presumed they already intended to take up the role of father.
In the amended law, the term “spouse” replaces “husband,” and the term “a parent” takes the place of “the father.”
However the new law severs its old connections to marriage, and instead establishes in its preamble that “a child born to parents in a domestic partnership be treated for all legal purposes as a child born in wedlock.” But the law takes that radical change further to “clarify that a child’s legitimate relationship to its parents is not dependent upon the parents being married or in a domestic partnership.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) lauded the law as it came into effect on July 18. They stated that the federal district was the first jurisdiction in the country to enact such a statute, and pointed out that a similar law would go into effect in New Mexico on January 1, 2010.
The D.C. Council passed the “Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Amendment Act of 2009” on May 5, 2009 by a unanimous vote – including the vote of D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry, who voted the same day against a law that gave full faith and credit to same-sex “marriages” contracted outside the federal district