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Gay Parents Not Equal In Wisconsin

Gay Parents Not Equal In Wisconsin

An appeals court in Wisconsin ruled Thursday that a woman who helped raise her two adopted children with her lesbian partner is not considered their parent under state law. The court ruled against the woman, who wishes only to be identified as Wendy, who was seeking legal guardianship of her two children, who were adopted from Guatemala. Wendy agreed to quit her job and stay home since her partner, Liz, was the primary breadwinner. The children would also be able to be added to Liz’s health care plan. 

An appeals court in Wisconsin ruled Thursday that a woman who helped raise her two adopted children with her lesbian partner is not considered their parent under state law, the AP is reporting. 

The court ruled against the woman, who wishes only to be identified as Wendy, who was seeking legal guardianship of her two children, who were adopted from Guatemala. Wendy agreed to quit her job and stay home since her partner, Liz, was the primary breadwinner. The children would also be able to be added to Liz’s health care plan. 

The District 4 Court of Appeals ruled that only Liz is their parent since the adoptions were done under her name.  Because Wisconsin does not have adoption rights for gay couples, only one of the partner’s can “legally” be the parent. 

"It's another slap in the face to gays and lesbians that we're not equal. We're not parents," Wendy’s attorney, Michele Perrault said.

The couple was together for seven years before they decided to adopt a child in 2002. They adopted a second child in 2004.  The couple separated in 2008, and agreed to an informal co-parenting relationship to share custody.

As time passed, Wendy wanted legal protection and recognition so she filed a petition to the court.  Liz initially agreed to Wendy’s petition, but then changed her mind and formally objected.  The court sided with Liz as did the appeals court.

One step forward, two steps back in the fight for equality……

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Leslie Dobbins