NYCLU: Ruling Modernizes Definition of Parent

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
August 30, 2016 3:00 pm

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The New York Court of Appeals today ruled that the current legal definition of a “parent” must be broadened to include partners who are not a child’s biological or adoptive parent. The court overturned a series of its past decisions by finding the state’s current definition “has become unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union worked with Ropes and Gray LLP to file an amicus brief in the case, along with the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. The following statement is attributable to NYCLU Executive Director, Donna Lieberman:

“It is way past time that New York’s family law is brought in line with the times and with many other states by recognizing that parental and family relationships are not based solely on biology, marriage or adoption, but on the commitment, care and obligations that parents assume when they decide to raise a child. Importantly, the law did not allow the same-sex couple in this case to get married when their child was conceived.”

“The fact that parents could not maintain relationships with their children because of New York’s outdated law has led to devastating consequences for families. Parents form deep and enduring bonds with their children, regardless of whether their relationship is legally recognized. This decision will help ensure that all children receive the same legal protections and that New York recognizes the rights of LGBT parents.”

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