Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Non-Biological Same-Sex Parents Have Complete Parity

Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Non-Biological Same-Sex Parents Have Complete Parity with Biological Parents.

In an almost unanimous ruling (8-1), the Oklahoma Supreme Court Ruled today non-bio same-sex parents may attain complete parity with bio-parents.

Lori and Heather, a same-sex couple, built and shared a life together in the ten or so years before Oklahoma recognized marriages between two people of the same sex.  In the course of their committed relationship, they started a family together through assisted reproduction.  In 2007, Heather gave birth to J.L.. Eight years went by in which young J.L. grew up in a nurturing and loving environment with two parents, during which time J.L. came to know Lori as a parent in every significant sense. Lori and Heather separated in April 2015. When Heather abruptly denied Lori any further visitation with their daughter, Lori petitioned the district court for shared legal custody of, and visitation with, J.L..

It has long been recognized that the rights of custody and visitation are not bound by the confines of biological relation. This ruling states, “We conclude that, to establish standing, a non-biological same-sex co-parent who asserts a claim for parentage must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she has:

  1.  engaged in family planning with the intent to parent jointly;
  2. acted in a parental role for a length of time sufficient to have established a meaningful emotional relationship with the child, and
  3. resided with the child for a significant period while holding out the child as his or her own child.

Concluding, the Court emphatically stated, Lori did not act in the place of a parent; she is a parent. ”

Read the entire decision here.


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Kelly Chang Rickert

Kelly Chang Rickert (formerly Kelly Yi-Yi Chang) is the founder of the Law Offices of Kelly Chang, A Professional Law Corporation, a firm dedicated exclusively to Family Law. She has been certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law Specialist. She is frequently quoted in the media, and is a legal expert for Style Network, TV Guide and MTV on Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Britney Spears, Christie Brinkley and Madonna divorce and custody cases.

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