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Win for lesbian co-mothers

Published Jun 13, 2005 8:40 PM

Lesbian couple Jeanne LoCicero and Kimberly Robinson of New Jersey won a court battle on May 23 to list both of their names as parents on the birth certificate of their new-born daughter, Vivian Ryan. The victory, a first for the state, continues an expansion of lesbian and gay rights by New Jersey courts, including a recent ruling that lesbian and gay couples are entitled to the same tax exemptions as heterosexual married couples.

LoCicero and Robinson, who are registered as domestic partners in New Jersey and married in Canada, conceived Vivian through artificial insemination (AI). Under state law, the male partner of a heterosexual couple who use AI has his name automatically listed on their child's birth certificate. Lawyers for LoCicero and Robinson successfully argued these lesbian mothers should have similar legal protection.

The court ruling gives immediate legal and economic benefits to Vivian, including eligibility for health insurance as a dependent of either mother. Previously in New Jersey, a lesbian co-mother had to petition the court for an adoption to gain parental rights. This process took six months to two years, cost a hefty amount of money, and involved intrusive interviews and even fingerprinting by state agencies.

Judge Patricia Talbert conceded the point that the lesbian, gay, bi and trans movement has been clearly vocalizing: that the notion of “family composed of mom, dad and two children applies, in fact, to only 23.5 percent” of the U.S. population.