Editor's Pick

New D.C. law extends parental consenting lesbians rights in cases of artificial insemination

The National Center for Lesbian Rights [NCLR] has issued a statement in regards to a new law in the District of Columbia that, in part, extends the legal parental rights of a non-birthing lesbian:

The new law, which took effect on July 18, 2009, provides that when a woman bears a child conceived by artificial insemination, and her spouse or unmarried partner consents in writing to the insemination, the consenting spouse or partner is a legal parent. That person’s name will appear as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. With the enactment of this measure, the District has become the first jurisdiction in the country to enact a statute specifically providing children born through artificial insemination with two legal parents from the beginning even when those parents are a same-sex or different-sex unmarried couple.

The Department of Vital Records is preparing a consent form that, when signed by both women, will result in placing the names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate.

Until now, a mother’s same-sex partner in the District of Columbia could become a child’s parent only through the lengthy, and often expensive, adoption process. The first such adoption was granted in the District of Columbia in 1991. In 1995, the D.C. Court of Appeals approved the practice. It also approved the ability of same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. Numerous states allow such adoptions, while a handful of states ban them.