Doug Windsor, 365Gay.com, March 13, 2003
TRENTON, NJ – In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in America a New Jersey judge has ruled that a lesbian couple can be listed as parents on the birth certificate of the baby they’re expecting in May. Both women are physically tied to the unborn child. One partner is carrying the baby, the other provided the egg. In delivering his ruling Sussex County Family Court Judge James A. Farber said that both women must share the obligations of raising the baby. If one parent dies, the other will immediately have custody. Neither woman in the case can be named.
The couple lives in northern New Jersey and has been together for seven years. The woman providing the egg said that she hoped the ruling would help other couples. She said that she and her partner pursued in vitro fertilization after her partner tried unsuccessfully to conceive with her own eggs and artificial insemination. Because of the unique nature of the case other judges in the state are not required to follow Judge Farber’s co-parenting ruling.
In most cases involving lesbian parents the woman who delivers the baby is usually named as the mother on the birth certificate. Her partner must then adopt the child because she is not genetically related, and the court process can take six months or longer. Nevertheless, Melissa Brisman, the couple’s lawyers, called the ruling a “victory for reproductive rights.” Gay rights advocates in the state also welcomed the decision, saying it recognizes the expanding definition of the family.