In June 2008, in Carson City, Nevada, partners Sha’Kayla St. Mary and Veronica Lynn Damon had a child. Damon’s egg was used with donor sperm. St. Mary carried the child. St. Mary was listed on the child’s birth certificate on the mother and a year later, she signed an affidavit naming Damon as the biological mother.
The mothers had a co-parenting agreement and broke up when the child was about a year. St. Mary petitioned for custodial rights. A lower court judge ruled that St. Mary had no biological or custody rights since she was only the surrogate and they refused to consider a joint parenting agreement both mothers signed before the child was born. The Nevada Supreme Court disagreed. The Court ruled that the joint parenting agreement was more than a surrogacy agreement and St. Mary assets that she is the legal mother of the child in addition to Damon, not instead of Damon. Nevada’s Parentage Act does not prevent a child from having two legal mothers.
In California, Jerry Brown just recently signed a bill that allows a child to have more than two legal parents. This bill is in response to the changing family structure and the increasing number of same sex couples having children. The bill is to allow a courts to recognize the roles of all parents and to not separate a child from a figure that he/she knows as a parent.
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