News Articles

Court declines lesbian custody case; ‘partner’s’ adoption stands

WASHINGTON (BP)–The United States Supreme Court has refused for the second consecutive week to review a case involving custody rights for a former lesbian partner of a child’s mother.

The high court announced May 22 it would not review a lower-court decision blocking a San Diego woman’s attempt to rescind an adoption petition she had agreed to with an ex-partner. The California Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that Annette F. could adopt the child even though she no longer was in a relationship with the birth mother, Sharon S.

The case is Sharon S. v. Annette F.

On May 15, the justices announced they would not review a decision by the Washington Supreme Court that a lesbian could seek custody rights for a child she had helped rear for six years after the girl’s birth. After the same-sex relationship ended, the mother married her daughter’s father, the sperm donor, and refused to permit her former partner to visit the girl.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to take up either case does not necessarily mean the justices agree with the lower-ruling rulings. The high court could be awaiting a similar case with a different set of facts before issuing an opinion in this area of the law.

In the California case, Sharon, who was in a relationship with Annette for about 11 years, gave birth to a son conceived by artificial insemination in 1996. While maintaining her rights as a parent, Sharon consented to Annette’s adoption of the boy. When Sharon was artificially inseminated again in 1999 and delivered a son, the women entered into the same agreement. After the relationship ended in 2000, Sharon sought court approval to rescind her consent to Annette’s adoption of the younger son.

The high court had refused in 2004 to review the lower-court opinion in the California case, only to receive a new petition in this term in the same case, according to the Associated Press.

    About the Author

  • Staff