Victory for LGBT Families! New York Appeals Court Recognizes the Equal Dignity of Same-Sex Spouses and their Children
Today, in an historic ruling the Appellate Division, Second Department in New York found that the legal presumption that every child born during a marriage is the legitimate child of both spouses applied equally to same-sex spouses and their children.
“We are so very pleased that the Court did justice by our clients, Joy and Danielle Barbour, by recognizing the equal dignity and legal principles that must be accorded to same-sex spouses and their children, said Brett Figlewski, Legal Director of the LGBT Bar Association of New York (LeGaL.) “This case rightly builds upon the precedent laid out in the Court of Appeals’ Brooke B. decision from two years ago and serves as another marker in the march toward full recognition and protection of the integrity of LGBT families in New York State.”
LeGaL and the Kurland Group represent, Danielle and Joy who were married in Connecticut in 2009. They decided to have a child and met the donor, Joseph O., through the Internet in their search for a sperm donor. On February 21, 2011, the parties entered into a “Three-Party Donor Contract,” and agreed, among other things, that Joseph O would provide Danielle and Joy with a semen sample for the purposes of artificial insemination, that he would have no parental rights or responsibilities in relation to any resulting children, and that he would not request or compel any guardianship or custody of, or visitation with, any child born from the procedure.
April 28, 2012, Danielle gave birth to their child. The birth certificate identifies Danielle and Joy as the child’s parents, and the child was given Joy’s surname. Despite these facts, in 2015, Joseph O. sought paternity and visitation, alleging that he was the father of the child. Danielle and Joy moved to dismiss the petitions, which was supported by the attorney for their child. In 2017, the Family Court denied the motion.
Today, the Second Department found that the legal presumption that every child born during a marriage is the legitimate child of both spouses applied to Danielle and Joy. The Court found Joy and Danielle were entitled to dismissal of the paternity petition on the ground of equitable estoppel.
The LGBT BarAssociation of New York is dedicated to promoting justice in and through the legal system for LGBTQ people.