State Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Parenting Case That Tests Scope Of Marriage Equality
The Supreme Court of Hawai’i today heard oral argument in the case of C.C. v. D.D., in which Lambda Legal is urging the Court to uphold a lower court ruling that, just like different-sex spouses, same-sex spouses must be treated as the presumed parents of children born during their marriage, with equal rights and equal responsibilities, including legal parentage and child support.
The case involves a dispute between a married same-sex couple regarding whether the non-biological mother, C.C., is a legal parent to their child and thus responsible for paying child support. Lambda Legal is representing the biological mother, D.D., who gave birth to a child conceived through assisted reproduction using anonymous donor sperm, during the couple’s marriage. (The parties are identified only by pseudonym initials during the oral argument.)
Among other things, C.C. is asking the appeals court to hold that she is not a legal parent – and to relieve her of her child support obligations – simply because she is not biologically related to the child. The lower court rejected this argument and found that C.C. was a legal parent under the Uniform Parentage Act and Marriage Equality Act, both of which operate to presume that the legal spouse of a birth parent is also a parent, a longstanding feature of family law that is intended to protect the well-being of children.