New York State’s highest court today ruled that the state legally defines the definition of parenthood, thus reversing a 25-year-old ruling that blocked gay and lesbian couples from seeking the court’s help in custody disputes. The decades’ old ruling only defined parenthood as a person who has biological or adoptive rights over a child, but now, the court has agreed that a man or a woman who has played a significant role in raising a child can be considered a parent/
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The court ruled that going forward, a partner can seek visitation and custody if it is shown “by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together.” The court recognized that some people could even deserve custody if they came into a child’s life after the birth, but said now isn’t the time to set a rule for such situations.
New York is the largest state to make such a ruling, but is not the first. Maryland recently expanded the definition of parenthood, and a decision is expected soon in Massachusetts.