AZ Supreme Court: Same-Sex Parental Rights

Same sex married couples have equal rights to child custody in the event of a divorce, according to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Tuesday's ruling by the state's highest court overturns an appeals  court, and upholds a lower court ruling regarding two women who got  divorced.  Kimberly McLaughlin fought the custody claim of her  ex-spouse, Suzan, on the grounds that Suzan was not the child's  biological parent.  But the state Supreme Court says now that the U-S  Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage legal, that includes all  the rights and responsibilities of marriage.  

The decision says since state law recognizes the parental rights of  a married man who is not the child's biological father, a woman who was  married to the biological mother at the time the baby was born also has  parental rights. From the Arizona Supreme Court ruling:

• In Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court reiterated that  marriage is a fundamental right, protected by the Due Process Clause [of  the Constitution]. Describing marriage as a "keystone of our social  order," the Court noted that "states have made marriage the basis for an  expanding list of governmental rights, benefits, and responsibilities,"  such as "child custody, support, and visitation rules."

• The marital paternity presumption seeks to ensure that a child has  meaningful parenting time and participation from both parents.   Extending the marital paternity presumption to same-sex spouses also  promotes stronger family units...  Children born to same-sex spouses  will know that they will have meaningful parenting time with both  parents even in the event of a dissolution of marriage.  

For these reasons, we extend § 25-814(A)(1) to same-sex spouses such as Suzan. By extending § 25-814(A)(1) to same-sex spouses,  we ensure that all children, and not just children born to opposite-sex  spouses, have financial and emotional support and strong family units.

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