Ruling: Insemination custody law covers children of same-sex parents
Married same-sex parents raising children conceived by artificial insemination are bound by the same custody law as married heterosexual parents of children conceived by artificial insemination in Massachusetts, according to a Feb. 2 Appeals Court ruling.
Even though the law still reads "husband" and "married woman," the Thursday ruling means both parents have equal legal standing if a child conceived by artificial insemination is born during the marriage.
"We do not read ’husband’ to exclude same-sex married couples, but determine that same-sex married partners are similarly situated to heterosexual couples in these circumstances," the court concluded, citing a 2003 ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court that extended constitutional protections to same-sex couples. The court said in the ruling that a same-sex marriage is indistinguishable from a heterosexual marriage.
According to The Boston Globe, a same-sex couple’s divorce first raised the legal issue. Suffolk County couple Gabriella Della Corte and Angelica Ramirez chose to have a child and welcomed a baby through artificial insemination seven months after they were married. Della Corte -- who gave birth -- attempted to end Ramirez’s standing as a parent during their divorce proceedings, arguing in Suffolk Probate and Family Court that Ramirez was not legally qualified, seeing as she was not a "husband."
"Della Corte places a high value on the obvious fact that Ramirez is not, and could not be, the biological father of the child," the court wrote. "Ramirez was, however, involved in the insemination process and was an integral part of the couple’s decision to conceive."
Ramirez’s parental rights remain intact.
"Because Ramirez and Della Corte were married when the child was born, the child is the legitimate child of both parties," the court said today. "There was no requirement that the parties be married at the time of conception, as the statute plainly states ’[a]ny child born,’ not ’any child conceived.’"